BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Louisiana is among 41 states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says reported cases of Salmonella infections caused by exposure to backyard poultry. The outbreak includes 279 cases reported across 41 states, based on a report released June 13. Louisiana reported 2 cases by the time the report was published.
The CDC says around 30 percent of the people infected are children younger than 5 years old. Evidence shows that contact with backyard poultry such as chicks and ducklings from several sources, including agricultural stores, websites, and hatcheries, may be making people sick.
Backyard poultry can carry Salmonella bacteria but appear healthy and clean and show no signs of illness, so remembering the following tips can be helpful:
- Always wash your hands with soap and water right after touching backyard poultry or anything in the area where they live and roam
- Adults should supervise handwashing by young children
- Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available
- Don’t let backyard poultry inside the house, especially in areas where food or drink is prepared, served, or stored
- Set aside a pair of shoes to wear while taking care of poultry and keep those shoes outside of the house
- Children younger than 5, adults over 65, and people who have health problems or take medicines that lower the body’s ability to fight germs and sickness shouldn’t handle or touch chicks, ducklings, or other poultry
- Don’t eat or drink where poultry live or roam
- Don’t kiss backyard poultry or snuggle them and then touch your face or mouth
- Stay outdoors when cleaning any equipment or materials used to raise or care for poultry, such as cages, or feed or water containers
- Check for handwashing stations or hand sanitizer next to poultry display areas and wash hands right after leaving these areas
It is also helpful to remember the following symptoms of Salmonella infection:
- Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria
- The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment
- In some people, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other places in the body
- In rare cases, Salmonella infection can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics
- People more likely to get a serious illness are children younger than 5 years, adults older than 65 years, and people who have health problems or take medicines that lower the body’s ability to fight germs and sickness
Hedgehogs were among the other pets linked to Salmonella outbreaks in 2019.