CDC: 15 Minnesotans sickened by salmonella outbreak linked to backyard poultry

More than a dozen Minnesotans have been sickened by a multi-state salmonella outbreak linked to backyard poultry, federal health officials say.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people in at least 38 states have been affected by the outbreak, including 15 in Minnesota and 13 in Wisconsin — more than any other state has reported.

The CDC says, of the 219 illnesses reported, 27 people have been hospitalized and one person has died.

Health officials say backyard poultry, such as chickens and ducks, can carry salmonella germs even if they look healthy and clean, and the germs can easily spread to anything where they roam. People can then get sick from touching the poultry or anything in their environment and then touching their mouths, food or swallowing germs.

To avoid getting sick, the CDC says backyard poultry owners should:

  • Always wash hands with soap and water immediately after touching poultry, eggs or anything where they roam, or use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available.
  • Don’t eat or drink around poultry, and don’t kiss or snuggle them.
  • Supervise kids around poultry and make sure their hands are properly washed afterward. Children under the age of 5 shouldn’t touch poultry, as they’re more susceptible to getting sick from germs like salmonella.
  • Collect eggs often, throw away cracked eggs, avoid washing eggs as cold water can pull germs into the egg, refrigerate eggs for freshness and to slow the growth of germs, and cook eggs until the yolk and white are firm. Egg dishes have an internal temperature of 160 degrees.

Signs of salmonella can include:

  • Diarrhea/ bloody diarrhea
  • Fever higher than 102 degrees
  • Excessive vomiting
  • Signs of dehydration

More information is available online.