6 Oregon cases linked to backyard poultry salmonella outbreak

Backyard poultry chicken

There is a rising number of salmonella cases linked to backyard poultry across the country. At least six people in Oregon have gotten sick. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week there have been 219 illnesses and 27 hospitalizations across 38 states. One person in Tennessee has died.

The known illnesses started on Feb. 15 and span to at least May 19. The CDC notes recent illnesses may not have been reported because it typically takes 2 to 4 weeks to determine if a person is sick from an outbreak. 

Because many people recover without seeing a doctor or being tested, it’s likely the total number of cases is much higher.

Of the people who have been interviewed by local and state health officials, 70% reported contact with backyard poultry before getting sick. Sixteen people reported eating eggs and two reported eating meat from backyard poultry.

It’s unclear if any of the Oregon cases are in Central Oregon.

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The CDC has this advice for backyard flock owners:

  • 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.
    • Keep your backyard flock and supplies you use to care for them (like feed containers and shoes you wear in the coop) outside of the house. You should also clean the supplies outside the house.
  • Supervise kids around flocks
    • Always supervise children around backyard poultry and make sure they wash their hands properly afterward.
    • Don’t let children younger than 5 years touch chicks, ducklings, or other backyard poultry. Young children are more likely to get sick from germs like Salmonella.
  • Handle eggs safely
    • Collect eggs often. Eggs that sit in the nest can become dirty or break.
    • Throw away cracked eggs. Germs on the shell can more easily enter the egg through a cracked shell.
    • Rub off dirt on eggs with fine sandpaper, a brush, or a cloth. Don’t wash eggs because colder water can pull germs into the egg.
    • Refrigerate eggs to keep them fresh and slow the growth of germs.
    • Cook eggs until both the yolk and white are firm, and cook egg dishes to an internal temperature of 160°F to kill all germs.

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these severe symptoms:

  • Diarrhea and a fever higher than 102°F
  • Diarrhea for more than 3 days that is not improving
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • So much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down
  • Signs of dehydration, such as:
    • Not peeing much
    • Dry mouth and throat
    • Feeling dizzy when standing up

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