‘Don’t kiss or snuggle backyard poultry,’ CDC says in salmonella warning

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking outbreaks of salmonella illnesses...
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking outbreaks of salmonella illnesses linked to backyard poultry.(AP/Terry Chea)
Updated: May. 21, 2021 at 7:44 AM EDT
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ATLANTA (WCSC) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says salmonella outbreaks in 43 states, including South Carolina, have been linked to backyard poultry.

The CDC released a notice Thursday reporting 163 illnesses and 34 hospitalizations affecting 43 states.

One of the guidelines in the notice warned owners of backyard flocks not to “kiss or snuggle” backyard poultry or to eat or drink around them. It also says flock owners should keep supplies like feed containers and shoes worn in the coop outside of the home. Such supplies should be cleaned outside of the house as well, the notice states.

Four of those illnesses were reported in South Carolina, but nine were reported in Georgia and 13 were reported in North Carolina.

CDC experts said backyard poultry, like chicken and ducks, can carry Salmonella germs even if they look healthy and clean.

“These germs can easily spread to anything in the areas where they live and roam,” the notice states. “You can get sick from touching your backyard poultry or anything in their environment and then touching your mouth or food, and swallowing Salmonella germs.”

It listed severe symptoms of a salmonella infection, saying that anyone experiencing them should call their healthcare provider immediately:

  • Diarrhea and a fever higher than 102°F
  • Diarrhea for more than 3 days that is not improving
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • So much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down
  • Signs of dehydration, such as:

Here are the full guidelines for flock owners:

  • Wash your hands
  • Be safe around backyard flocks
  • Supervise kids around flocks
  • Handle eggs safely

Symptoms usually begin six hours to six days after infection and last four to seven days, the CDC says. However, some people do not develop symptoms for several weeks after infection and others experience symptoms for several weeks.

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