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Multistate Outbreak of Human Salmonella Infections Linked to Live Poultry (Final Update)

This outbreak appears to be over. However, live poultry, including those kept in backyard flocks, are an important cause of human Salmonella infections in the United States. More information about Salmonella from live poultry and the steps people can take to reduce their risk of infection is available.

Advice to Consumers

Contact with live poultry and their environment can be a source of human Salmonella infections. Live poultry can be carrying Salmonella bacteria but appear healthy and clean and show no signs of illness. Therefore, you should always follow these recommendations for protecting yourself and others from contact with live poultry:

  • Wash your 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.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use hand sanitizer until you are able to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Do not let 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.
  • Do not let children younger than 5 years of age, older adults, or people with weak immune systems handle or touch chicks, ducklings, or other live poultry. Children younger than 5 years, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness from Salmonella infection.
  • Do not snuggle or kiss the birds, touch your mouth, or eat or drink around live poultry.
  • Clean any equipment or materials associated with raising or caring for live poultry outside the house, such as cages or feed or water containers.
  • For more information, see Reducing Your Risk of a Salmonella Infection from Contact with Live Baby Poultry. 

Advice to Mail-order Hatcheries

  • Mail-order hatcheries, agricultural feed stores, and others that sell or display chicks, ducklings and other live poultry should provide health-related information to owners and potential purchasers of these birds prior to the point of purchase (see examples below). This should include information about the risk of acquiring a Salmonella infection from contact with live poultry.
  • Mail-order hatcheries should implement interventions to aid in the prevention of contamination and infection of poultry with Salmonella. Visit USDA’s National Poultry Improvement Plan for more information.

Advice to Feed Stores that Sell or Display Live Poultry

  • Agricultural feed stores should implement interventions to prevent human Salmonella infections associated with contact with live poultry.
    • Provide health-related information to owners and potential purchasers of these birds prior to the point of purchase (see example below). This should include information about the risk of acquiring a Salmonella infection from contact with live poultry.
    • Place health-related information near areas where birds are displayed in clear view.
    • Offer hand washing stations or hand sanitizer next to poultry display areas and tell customers to wash hands right after leaving the poultry display area.
    • Display poultry out of reach of customers, especially chil­dren, so customers can not easily touch birds.
  • More information on displaying animals in public settings can be found in the 2011 Compendium of Measures to Prevent Diseases Associated with Animals in Public Settings.

« Read the full Outbreak Investigation

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