CDC and public health officials in many states are investigating multistate outbreaks of Salmonella infections linked to contact with backyard poultry (such as chicks and ducklings). As of July 28, 2020, 938 cases have been reported in 48 states, including Illinois. In Illinois, 34 cases matching the outbreak strains have been reported. The number of illnesses reported this year exceeds the number reported at the same time of the year in previous outbreaks linked to backyard flocks.
Salmonella infection can cause diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, nausea, vomiting, and dehydration. Symptoms can occur 6 hours to 6 days after being exposed and can last about 4-7 days. The infection generally affects the intestinal tract but can spread to other parts of the body causing severe illness, especially in children, older adults, and immunocompromised individuals. Most people who have healthy immune systems will recover without treatment.
A public health investigation is being conducted, including interviewing Salmonella cases to identify contact with backyard poultry and collecting information about where they purchased baby poultry. Testing of backyard poultry and their environments (such as backyard coops) in Kentucky and Oregon found three of the outbreak strains. Traceback investigations from purchase locations to hatcheries are ongoing.
In the United States, outbreaks of Salmonellosis have previously been linked to contact with backyard poultry. Keeping backyard poultry is becoming more popular. People enjoy raising baby poultry to have fresh eggs. To prevent illness, always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching chickens, ducks, or anything in their environment.
CDC Investigation Notice: https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/backyardpoultry-05-20/index.html
CDC’s Heathy Pets Heathy People Backyard Poultry website: https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/pets/farm-animals/backyard-poultry.html