CDC Investigation Notice – Salmonella Infections Linked to Live Poultry in Backyard Flocks

Media Statement

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Contact: Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

A CDC investigation notice regarding a multistate outbreak of Salmonella infections linked to contact with backyard poultry has been posted

Key points:

  • CDC and public health officials in several states are investigating an outbreak of Salmonella infections linked to contact with live poultry, such as chicks and ducklings, in backyard flocks.
  • There have been 97 ill people reported from 28 states.
  • 17 people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
  • About one-third of the ill people are children younger than 5 years.
  • People can get sick from Salmonella from touching live poultry or their environment. Birds carrying the bacteria can appear healthy and clean.
  • Spring and summer are always popular times for people to purchase chicks, ducklings, and other live poultry. As people tend to their new flocks, increases in Salmonella infections linked to live poultry are usually reported.
  • Whether you are building your first coop or are a seasoned backyard poultry owner, know the risks of keeping poultry and the simple things you can do to stay healthy.

Tips for backyard flock owners:

  • Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching chickens, ducks, or anything in their environment.
  • Don’t let children younger than 5 years touch live poultry. Young kids are more likely to get a severe Salmonella infection.
  • Set aside a pair of shoes to wear while taking care of your birds and keep those outside of your home. Do not wear them inside your house.
  • Don’t let live poultry inside the house. This is especially important in areas where food or drink is prepared, served, or stored, including kitchens and outdoor patios.
  • Don’t kiss or snuggle backyard poultry.
  • More information can be found at

About Salmonella:

  • Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 6 hours to 6 days after being exposed to the bacteria.
  • The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment.
  • In some people, the illness may be so severe that the patient is hospitalized. Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other parts of the body.
  • Children younger than 5, adults 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe illness.

If you have questions about cases in a particular state, please call that state’s health department.


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