At least 17 people in Kentucky have become sick in an outbreak of Salmonella bacteria that are 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 warns. “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.