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Backyard poultry contact has led to salmonella outbreaks in over 38 states across the country.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 219 salmonella illnesses have been reported in 2022 so far in the United States. So far, 27 people have been hospitalized, one person has died, and 38 states have been affected.

Backyard poultry refers to chickens and ducks that are raised at home. You can get sick by touching them or anything in their area and then touch your mouth or food, according to the CDC.

“Backyard poultry can carry Salmonella germs even if they look healthy and clean. These germs can easily spread in areas where the poultry live and roam,” says the CDC.

KSNT says illnesses began in February 2022 and spiked around May 5, 2022. Texas, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin each had 10 to 15 cases of salmonella.

AARP says 2022 is the third year that the CDC has been investigating salmonella outbreaks related to backyard poultry. The CDC, according to AARP, says these outbreaks happen due to the increase in the number of chicks purchased at the beginning of spring. In 2021, 1,135 people were sick from outbreaks linked to backyard chickens and ducks but not related to H5N1 bird flu viruses.

These are some ways to prevent a salmonella outbreak, according to the CDC:

  • Wash hands with soap after touching backyard poultry, their eggs, or anything in the area where they live and roam. Use hand sanitizer if soap isn’t available.
  • Do not kiss or snuggle poultry
  • Do not eat or drink around them
  • Clean supplies used to care for your flock and do it outside your home.
  • Supervise kids around them
  • Throw away cracked eggs
  • Rub off dirt on eggs with fine sandpaper and do not wash them because it can pull germs into the egg.
  • Refrigerate the eggs
  • Cook eggs before consuming

Symptoms of salmonella, according to the CDC:

  • Fever over 102 degrees
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Vomiting and unable to keep liquids down
  • Dehydration

Children 5 years and younger, adults 65 years and older, as well as people with underlying health conditions and weakened immune systems, may experience severe illnesses that require medical treatment, says the CDC. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, call your healthcare provider. You can also contact your state’s health department for more information.