The Washington Department of Health is investigating four more cases of Salmonella link to backyard poultry. Last week’s cases were reported in Clallam, Island, Stevens and Spokane counties. That brings the total number of cases being investigated this year up to 20.
Those that came down with salmonella range in age up to 85, and 66% are women. Eight cases have resulted in hospitalization. In 2017, 23 backyard poultry salmonella cases were reported, in connection to a national outbreak.
“Salmonella can cause serious illness, and can spread from animals to people and from people to people,” said Hanna Oltean who investigates zoonotic disease (diseases carried by animals) for the Department of Health. “You can get the infection from a variety of sources, including eating or drinking contaminated food or water or touching infected animals and not washing your hands.”
While anyone can get a Salmonella infection, children are especially at risk of illness because they are less likely to wash their hands and have more frequent hand-to-mouth contact than adults. Symptoms of Salmonella infection begin about one to three days after exposure and include diarrhea, fever, and stomach pain.
Owning backyard poultry can be a great experience. Anyone who owns backyard poultry should keep the following safety tips in mind:
- Always wash hands with soap and water right after touching live poultry or anything in the area where they live and roam. Even healthy-looking chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys can carry Salmonella
- Don’t snuggle or kiss live poultry or allow them in family living spaces.
- Don’t eat or drink where poultry live or roam.
- Adults should supervise young children when handling live poultry.
- Call your health care provider if you or your child has a high fever, severe diarrhea, or other symptoms that concern you.
For more information on safe live poultry handling and the health risks associated with Salmonella, visit Washington Department of Health Website.
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