The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said Thursday that backyard chickens are most likely the reason behind the Salmonella outbreaks across 21 states.
The CDC announced that of the total of 52 infected people, five people have been hospitalized and about a quarter is under five years of age, while four of the infected people live in Tennessee.
The agency, in a news release, said most of the infected people reported to have contact with chicks or ducklings. The CDC also found that the poultry was obtained from sources including agricultural stores and hatcheries. Health officials said that people could get sick simply from touching backyard poultry or their environment.
The CDC said, “Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicate that contact with backyard poultry, such as chicks and ducklings, from multiple hatcheries is the likely source of these outbreaks.”
It also said that sick birds might appear clean with no signs of illness. The CDC stated, “These birds can be carrying Salmonella bacteria but appear healthy and clean and show no signs of illness.”
The agency advised people to wash their hands thoroughly after handling the birds and recommended avoiding touching their faces after caressing them.
The news release stated that the typical symptoms of the Salmonella infection include fever, diarrhea, and stomach cramps, which presents between “12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria.”