Salmonella outbreaks in backyard poultry sicken Kentuckians
At least 17 people in Kentucky have become sick in an outbreak of Salmonella bacteria linked to backyard poultry, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“One in three sick people is a child younger than 5 years,” the CDC warned Thursday. “Don’t let young children touch chicks, ducklings, or other backyard poultry.”
The outbreaks have affected almost 500 people and caused more than 100 hospitalizations in 46 states; Kentucky’s case numbers are higher than average for the nation.
Poultry can carry salmonella “even if they look healthy and clean,” the CDC said. “These germs can easily spread to anything in the areas where the poultry live and roam. You can get sick from touching your backyard poultry or anything in their environment and then touching your mouth or food.”
The CDC said owners of backyard poultry should:
Wash your hands
• Always wash your hands with soap and water immediately after touching backyard poultry, their eggs, or anything in the area where they live and roam.
• Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available. Consider having hand sanitizer at your coop.
Be safe around backyard flocks
• Don’t kiss or snuggle backyard poultry, and don’t eat or drink around them. This can spread Salmonella germs to your mouth and make you sick.
• Keep your backyard flock and supplies you use to care for them (like feed containers and shoes you wear in the coop) outside of the house. You should also clean the supplies outside the house.
• Always supervise children around backyard poultry and make sure they wash their hands properly afterward.
• Don’t let children younger than 5 years touch chicks, ducklings, or other backyard poultry. Young children are more likely to get sick from germs like Salmonella.
Handle eggs safely
• Collect eggs often. Eggs that sit in the nest can become dirty or break.
• Throw away cracked eggs. Germs on the shell can more easily enter the egg through a cracked shell.
• Rub off dirt on eggs with fine sandpaper, a brush, or a cloth. Don’t wash them because colder water can pull germs into the egg.
• Refrigerate eggs to keep them fresh and slow the growth of germs.
• Cook eggs until both the yolk and white are firm, and cook egg dishes to an internal temperature of 160°F to kill all germs.
Call your health-care provider right away if you have any of these severe symptoms:
• Diarrhea and a fever higher than 102°F
• Diarrhea for more than three days that is not improving
• Bloody diarrhea
• So much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down
• Signs of dehydration, such as:
• Not urinating much
• Dry mouth and throat
• Feeling dizzy when standing up
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