CDC: Multiple States Report Salmonella Infections From Backyard Poultry Interview with:

Dr. Megin Nichols

Dr. Megin Nichols DVM, MPH, DACVPM
Lead , Enteric Zoonoses Activity
Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases
National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases
CDC Veterinarian What is the background for this announcement?

Response: Each year, CDC and multiple states investigate several multistate outbreaks of Salmonella infections linked to contact with live poultry in backyard flocks. Seventy outbreaks of Salmonella infections have been linked to contact with poultry in backyard flocks since 2000. What are the main findings?

Response: As of July 23, 2018, there have been 212 Salmonella illnesses from 44 states linked to contact with chicks and ducklings backyard flocks. Twenty-six percent of the illnesses have occurred in young children, under the age of 5 years. What can readers do to protect themselves from these types of Salmonella infections?

Response: The most important thing people can do is to wash their hands really well with soap and water. They should also use dedicated shoes and clothing for handling their poultry so that these items don’t bring germs into their homes. Poultry also need to have their own space in a safe coop outside. Parents should supervise children around animals and ensure that children wash their hands thoroughly. Can/should chickens or eggs be tested for Salmonella?

Response: We don’t recommend that poultry owners test their flock for Salmonella as the poultry may not show any signs of illness and can shed the bacteria intermittently, meaning one day they may test negative and another they may test positive. It is always better to take the proper precautions to prevent infection as though the poultry have Salmonella. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Raising backyard poultry can be an enjoyable and educational experience. However, many people may not realize that poultry can carry germs that can make people, especially young children sick. Therefore, CDC recommends that poultry owners practice simple infection prevention measures, like handwashing, to prevent illness.


Multistate Outbreaks of Salmonella Infections Linked to Contact with Live Poultry in Backyard Flocks, 2018
Posted July 23, 2018

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Last Updated on July 26, 2018 by Marie Benz MD FAAD