Advice to Consumers

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

Posted October 21, 2014 12:45 PM ET

This outbreak appears to be over. However, live poultry, including those kept in backyard flocks, remain 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.

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. Follow these simple tips for protecting yourself and others while enjoying backyard 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.
  • Children younger than 5 years of age, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems should not 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.
  • These recommendations are important and apply to all live poultry regardless of the age of the birds or where they were purchased.

Advice to Mail-order Hatcheries

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.
    • Source the birds they sell from suppliers that have adopted the newly released best management practices to mitigate Salmonella contamination Cdc-pdf[PDF – 25 pages]External
    • 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.