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Multiple Multistate Outbreaks of Human Salmonella Infections Linked to Live Poultry in Backyard Flocks

Salmonella infections don’t just come from contaminated food—they can come from contact with animals, too. Many Salmonella infections occur in people who have contact with certain types of animals. In 2012 there were two records involving outbreaks of human Salmonella infections linked to live poultry:

  • Eight outbreaks were reported which was more than any year in history and these outbreaks resulted in more than 450 illnesses –and-
  • The largest outbreak of human Salmonella infections linked to backyard flocks in a single year occurred.

Chicks, ducklings, and other poultry can carry Salmonella. Live poultry may have Salmonella germs in their droppings and on their bodies (feathers, feet, and beaks) even when they appear healthy and clean.

CDC is collaborating with public health and agriculture officials in many states and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) to investigate two large, multistate outbreaks of human Salmonella infections linked to contact with live poultry in backyard flocks.

While it usually doesn't make the birds sick, Salmonella can cause serious illness when it is passed to people. Salmonella germs can cause a diarrheal illness in people that can be mild, severe, or even life threatening. Infants, seniors, and those with weakened immune systems are more likely than others to develop severe illness. These simple steps will help protect yourself and others from getting sick:

  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching live poultry or anything in the area where they live and roam. Adults should supervise hand washing for young children.
  • Clean any equipment or materials associated with raising or caring for live poultry outside the house, such as cages or feed or water containers.
  • Never bring live poultry inside the house, in bathrooms, or especially in areas where food or drink is prepared, served, or stored, such as kitchens, or outdoor patios.

Learn more about the risk of human Salmonella Infections from live poultry here.

Graphics / Images

  • Salmonella info-graphic

    Live Poultry Salmonella Infographic
    Entire Infographic

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  • Chickens

    Chickens

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Contact Information

CDC Media Relations
(404) 639-3286
media@cdc.gov

Spokesperson

Casey Barton Behravesh, MS, DVM, DrPH, DACVPM

Biography

Casey

Most people can tell you that raw poultry can be contaminated with Salmonella and that they should wash hands after handling the raw meat, but they don’t know that live poultry can also have Salmonella.

It is important for people to know how to safely enjoy their backyard flocks. People of all ages should wash their hands right after touching baby and adult poultry or anything in the areas where the poultry lives and roams.

Casey Barton Behravesh, MS, DVM, DrPH, DACVPM - Deputy Branch Chief, Outbreak Response and Prevention Branch and DFWED Coordinator for Enteric Zoonoses and One Health

Multimedia

Podcasts

Videos

Pets Can Make People Sick
Video: Pets Can Make People Sick

Author: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Date: 8/22/2011
Pets Can Make People Sick

Slides

Risks From Pets and Pet Food: Major Outbreaks of Enteric Zoonoses in 2012
Video: Risks From Pets and Pet Food: Major Outbreaks of Enteric Zoonoses in 2012

Author: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Date: 2/13/2013
Risks From Pets and Pet Food: Major Outbreaks of Enteric Zoonoses in 2012

 
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