[9/7/17] Salmonella Connected To Backyard Chickens, Ducks And Geese Found In Washington

Posted in Health

People across the country have become ill this year from salmonella connected to backyard flocks of chickens, ducks and geese.

The Centers for Disease Control is investigating dozens of cases affecting 350 people in 48 states – including 16 cases connected to poultry in Washington this year.

Five people have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported, according to the State Department of Health. Seven of the 16 people sickened are younger than age five.

A single case was reported in Chelan County, along with Kittitas, Yakima and 10 counties west of the Cascades.

Nationwide, 71 people have been hospitalized and no deaths have been reported. More than a third of those sickened are children.

CDC Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Megin Nichols said the agency isn’t discouraging backyard agriculture or the benefits of learning to interact with animals, but preventing salmonella is a critical precaution.

Other tips for people raising chickens, ducks or geese include making sure you change your shoes and clothes after cleaning coops – and for those who keep them as pets, Nichols said birds shouldn’t come in contact with people’s faces.

As the trend toward organic food grows, Nichols said many people buy their own chickens because they believe they’re less likely to have salmonella and other germs. But, she noted, many of the birds for sale at the local feed store actually come from factory farms.

Signs of a salmonella infection in humans include diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps. Many who contract salmonella just feel a little sick, but it can be a deadly illness for small children, older people and those with weakened immune systems. The state health department encourages people who fit the criteria avoid handling live poultry.