The Grapevine

Salmonella Outbreak Update: Backyard Chickens Could Have Sickened 52

The ongoing Salmonella outbreak is partly to be blamed on backyard chickens. This is what the latest update of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests.

Las week, the CDC issued a press release to update the public on the latest Salmonella outbreak. According to the federal agency, 52 people from 21 states have reportedly contracted the Salmonella infection. Five of these people were hospitalized and 28 percent of the total were children below 5 years old. No deaths have been reported.

The nation’s health protection agency then indicated that based on interviews, 23 people got infected after making contact with chicks and ducklings from sources like agricultural stores, websites and hatcheries. The CDC emhasized in its report that backyard poultry is most likely the source of the outbreak.

Salmonella Infection Explained

Salmonella is actually a group of bacteria that typically cause the foodborne illness called salmonellosis, which affects approximately 1.2 million people every year. Of the figure, 23,000 get hospitalized because of the infection. What’s even more alarming is that 450 people die from this disease annually.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the most common strains of Salmonella in the .S. are Salmonella Enteritidis and Salmonella Typhimurium — both are said to be responsible for at least half of the infections reported yearly. The contamination process of Salmonella usually happens when people, animals, crops or water are exposed or come into contact with infected feces.

Raw meat, poultry, seafood, raw eggs, fresh produce, spices, nuts and supplements can easily be contaminated by Salmonella. That’s why experts warn to properly store and cook meat and food items. It is also imperative that people who prepare the food should wash their hands thoroughly before and after preparing the meals.

Salmonella infection or salmonellosis causes a variety of symptoms. The most common of which are diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, chills, headache and blood in the stool.

Even though Salmonella infection could be life-threatening, this isn’t actually the case most of the time. In fact, most healthy people who get infected recover within two to seven days even without receiving any form of treatment, as per Live Science.

Advice To Backyard Poultry Owners

In the wake of the Salmonella infection outbreak, the CDC has also released guidelines that owners of backyard chickens or poultry should follow to prevent the infection from spreading. It is important to abide by these rules because birds that carry the bacteria do not manifest symptoms and they tend to appear healthy and clean.

The CDC’s tips for owners who want to avoid the sickness that Salmonella brings are as follows:

  • Wash your hands with soap after touching backyard chickens and ducks or the places where they live. Using hand sanitizer also works. 
  • Prohibit backyard poultry from entering the house, especially spaces where you and your family store, prepare and consume food and drinks.
  • Use one pair of shoes to wear when taking care of backyard poultry and then never bring or wear them inside the house.
  • Never allow children under age 5, adults over 65 and people with weak immune systems make contact with backyard chickens and ducks. 
  • Don’t kiss or snuggle backyard chicken or let them near your face.
  • Always clean your backyard poultry equipment outdoors.


Salmonella bacteria Salmonella is a group of bacteria that causes infection and sickness. Wikimedia