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1 sickened in Michigan as salmonella outbreak linked to backyard chickens, ducks – Detroit Free Press

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1 sickened in Michigan as salmonella outbreak linked to backyard chickens, ducks – Detroit Free Press

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A federal health agency says backyard chickens and ducks are the likely source of a multi-state salmonella outbreak that has sickened 52 people, including at least one person in Michigan.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that there have been 52 reported cases across 21 states. Five people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. 

Those who became ill, the CDC said, reported being in contact with backyard poultry such as chicks and ducklings. More than a quarter of those infected are children under 5 years old.

“People can get sick with salmonella infections from touching backyard poultry or their environment,” the CDC said. “These birds can be carrying salmonella bacteria but appear healthy and clean and show no signs of illness.”

The CDC did not release any other specific information about the infected patients, including their ages and hometowns, but said ages ranged from less than one year to 60 years old. Illnesses were reported between January 12 and April 29. So far, according to CDC.gov, Ohio has the highest number of reported cases with nine.

People who are at higher risk, the elderly, those with weakened immune systems, the CDC advises should not handle or touch chicks, ducklings or other poultry. 

More: Backyard chicken debate heats up in metro Detroit: What to know

Here’s what to know about salmonella infection from the CDC:

  • Symptoms of salmonella infection — diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps — typically show up 12-72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria.
  • Salmonella may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other places in the body.
  • The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment. 
  • In rare cases, Salmonella infection can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.
  • Children younger than 5 years, adults older than 65 years, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe illness.

The CDC has this advice for backyard flock owners

  • Always wash your hands with soap and water right after touching backyard poultry or anything in the area where they live and roam.
  • Adults should supervise handwashing by young children.
  • Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available.
  • Don’t let backyard poultry inside the house, especially in areas where food or drink is prepared, served, or stored.
  • Set aside a pair of shoes to wear while taking care of poultry and keep those shoes outside of the house.
  • Children younger than 5, adults over 65, and people with weakened immune systems shouldn’t handle or touch chicks, ducklings, or other poultry.
  • Don’t eat or drink where poultry live or roam.
  • Don’t kiss backyard poultry or snuggle them and then touch your face or mouth.
  • Stay outdoors when cleaning any equipment or materials used to raise or care for poultry, such as cages, or feed or water containers.

More: Backyard chickens in Michigan: Cities that ban, allow them

More information on keeping backyard poultry can be found at cdc.gov/healthypets/pets/farm-animals/backyard-poultry.html.

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More: Worried about your fruits and vegetables? Here’s how to wash them

Contact food writer Susan Selasky at 313-222-6872 or [email protected] Follow @SusanMariecooks on Twitter. 

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