Multi-State Outbreak of Salmonella Linked to Chicks and Ducklings

For Immediate Release: June 3, 2011
Media Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health

BURLINGTON – A multi-state outbreak of Salmonella, including one case in Vermont, linked to contact with live poultry (chicks, chickens, ducklings) is being investigated by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) with agriculture and health officials in 11 states, including the Vermont Department of Health.

As of May 25, 2011, 25 people were known to be infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella bacteria. Eight of the 25 people were hospitalized, including the person from Vermont, and no deaths have been reported. Most of the ill people had contact with chicks or ducklings in the days before they became ill.

The chicks and ducklings originated from a single hatchery in Ohio. The hatchery is being investigated by the agriculture department in that as well as by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Poultry Improvement Plan.

Young poultry are common carriers of Salmonella bacteria. Even chicks and ducklings that appear healthy may harbor the harmful bug. After handling live poultry, wash your hands with soap and water. Keep children from hugging and kissing young poultry, and make sure they wash their hands thoroughly after touching these birds. Children younger than 5 and people with weak immune systems should not handle chicks, ducklings or other live poultry.

Symptoms of Salmonella illness include fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Salmonella can invade the bloodstream and cause life-threatening infections for people with weakened immune systems or other underlying health conditions.

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