CDC Again Investigating Recent Salmonella Outbreaks as Being Linked to Chickens in Peoples’ Backyards!
The disruption in the food supply chain caused by the COVID-19 economic shutdown led many people to become interested in producing their own food. Consequently, many people became backyard chicken owners, in order to produce their own eggs and raise their own poultry meat. However, the rise in backyard poultry ownership has led to an increase in Salmonella Outbreaks. On May 20, 2021, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced an ongoing investigation regarding the rise in Salmonella Outbreaks connected with backyard poultry.
Between February 12, 2021 and April 25, 2021, there have been a total of 163 people infected with one of the three known Salmonella outbreak strains, Enteritidis, Hadar, and Infantis, resulting in 34 hospitalizations. There have been no reported deaths related to these outbreaks to date. It is noteworthy that these numbers only reflect those who choose to report their illness, therefore, the actual number of people involved in the backyard poultry outbreaks are likely much higher. Furthermore, the cases of Salmonella infection have been widespread, having been reported from 43 states. Those who have reported Salmonella infection connected with backyard poultry range between 1 and 87 years of age with the median age being 24.
Epidemiological and traceback investigation of these outbreaks show that they have most likely been caused by contamination from backyard poultry. Backyard poultry, such as chicken and ducks, often carry Salmonella in their poop, which can be ingested if proper hygiene during and after handling them is not observed, such as washing hands. The CDC reminds poultry owners to be particularly careful not to touch their mouths or food after handling the birds or their environment. Young children should be supervised when handling backyard poultry, as they commonly spread Salmonella germs by being affectionate with their pets. The CDC reminds backyard poultry owners, “Don’t kiss or snuggle backyard poultry, and don’t eat or drink around them.”
Raising backyard poultry can be an excellent way to self-sustainably produce eggs and meat poultry, but it is imperative that the proper precautions be taken in order to protect your family from the spread of Salmonella infection.