TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and many other state health departments are investigating multiple outbreaks of human Salmonella infections linked to contact with live poultry. As of July 13, 2017, 790 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella, including 12 persons from Kansas, have been reported nationwide. These outbreaks are ongoing, with case counts expected to increase. More information about the nationwide outbreaks can be found on CDC's website (https://www.cdc.gov/zoonotic/gi/outbreaks/livepoultry.html).
Disease investigation and laboratory findings link the outbreaks to contact with live poultry, such as chicks and ducklings, which come from several hatcheries. Live baby poultry has been acquired from various sources including feed supply stores, websites, and hatcheries.
Contact with live poultry and the areas where they live and roam can make people, especially young children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems, sick with Salmonella infections even when the birds appear healthy and clean. People can be exposed through direct contact with the birds and by touching surfaces where they live. This includes cages, feed, bedding and water bowls. It is particularly important to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling or caring for any live poultry. This, along with careful cleaning of equipment and materials associated with raising or caring for live poultry, will help to reduce the risk of infection.
To reduce the risk of Salmonella infection from live poultry:
· Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching live poultry or any surface in the areas where they live and roam. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available.
· Adults should supervise hand washing for young children.
· Stay outdoors when cleaning any equipment or materials used to raise or care for live poultry, such as cages or feed and water containers.
· Don’t let children younger than 5 years of age, older adults, or people with weakened immune systems handle or touch chicks, ducklings, or other live poultry.
· Don't snuggle or kiss the birds, touch your mouth, or eat or drink around live poultry.
· Don't let live poultry inside the house, in bathrooms, or especially in areas where food or drink is prepared, served, or stored, such as kitchens or outdoor patios.
· Don’t eat or drink in the area where the birds live or roam.
If you experience any symptoms of Salmonella infection such as diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps consult with a healthcare provider. For additional information and resources about Salmonella and preventing Salmonella illnesses from live poultry visit the CDC’s website (http://www.cdc.gov/features/salmonellapoultry/). For other questions or concerns about Salmonella infections call your local health department or the KDHE epidemiology hotline at 877-427-7317.