Reports of over 900 individuals in an estimated 48 states infected with salmonella is believed to be linked to backyard poultry such as chicks and ducklings.
Although such outbreaks as this are not uncommon for this time of year, this year's outbreak appears to have sickened more individuals that those of past years. This, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
As of the end of July 2020, data shows that 938 individuals have been infected with the disease, with cases nearly doubling in just the last month. Since the last series of cases in June, an estimated 473 additional reports of illnesses have come in, according to the CDC.
In a report dated last year, July 2019, the CDC said that at this same time, 768 individuals had fallen ill from salmonella, however, there were also two deaths reported.
The culprit believed to have caused the outbreak is that of backyard poultry. In interviews with 400 of the individuals cited as having become ill, public health officials found that 74% had come into contact at some point with chicks and ducklings.
The CDC has identified fifteen multistate outbreaks since the first reported case of the illness in January 2020. It appears that three of those cases, located in Kentucky and Oregon, have been officially linked to the poultry and the coops in which they reside.
The CDC would not make a speculated guess as to why they are seeing more individuals infected this year than in years past. The timeline they have developed shows that spikes in cases occurred towards the end of March, which is not that unusual as that time is when poultry farming experiences an uptick.
Both chicks and ducks are known to carry salmonella in their prospective digestive tracts, which does not prove harmful to them. However, in humans that become exposed to the bacteria, it can present with fever, diarrhea, and painful abdominal cramps. Exposure to the bacteria is through either the bird's feathers, their eggs, and their droppings.
After handling the animals or any objects that have been exposed to their environment, frequent hand washing is advised. The CDC says that this is the best preventative against the contracting of salmonella. It is also strongly suggested that individuals, along with their children, refrain from kissing or snuggling the tiny animals, as this can cause contraction of the bacteria.
Is the increase in salmonella cases due to more individuals keeping backyard flocks than ever before?