Don't snuggle your chickens, says CDC
May 27, 2021
An outbreak of salmonella infections has so far caused illness in 43 states, including Wyoming. The infections have been linked to backyard poultry and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are urging the public to take extra care when handling chickens, ducks and other fowl.
At this time, two infections have been reported in Wyoming. In total, 163 people in the U.S. are known to have become ill from salmonella and 34 of those people have been hospitalized.
However, the CDC cautions that the true number of ill people is probably significantly higher, because many people recover from the illness without the need for medical care and are therefore never tested for salmonella.
Salmonella can be contracted through touching your backyard poultry or anything in their environment and then touching your mouth or food, according to CDC guidance. This can cause you to swallow salmonella germs.
Interviews with people who have become ill from salmonella has shown that backyard poultry is the most likely source of the outbreak. These poultry can carry the germs even if they look clean and healthy and the germs can easily spread within the area the birds roam.
Illness from salmonella generally lasts for between four and seven days and most people will recover without treatment, although for some it can be severe enough to require hospitalization. Children under the age of five, adults over the age of 65 and people with weakened immune systems are considered the most vulnerable to severe illness.
To avoid infection, the CDC recommends washing your hands with soap and water after touching poultry, their eggs or their living area. Consider having hand sanitizer at your coop, which can be used if soap and water are not readily available.
Avoid snuggling or kissing your poultry or eating and drinking around them. Keep any supplies and the birds themselves outside of the house.
Supervise children around your poultry and do not allow under-fives to touch them. Handle eggs safely by collecting them often and throwing away cracked ones (as germs can more easily enter the egg through a cracked shell)
Rub dirt off your eggs with find sandpaper, a cloth or a brush rather than washing them, as colder water can pull germs into the egg. Cook eggs until both yolk and white are firm and egg dishes to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Contact your healthcare provider if you develop any symptoms that may be associated with salmonella. These include diarrhea with a fever higher than 102 degrees Fahrenheit; diarrhea for more than three days that is not improving; bloody diarrhea; vomiting to the degree you cannot keep liquids down; and signs of dehydration such as not urinating much, a dry mouth and throat and dizziness when standing up.