Public health officials are investigating yet another multistate outbreak of Salmonella linked to contact with live poultry.
For the outbreak investigation, state and local health officials conducted interviews with ill individuals about consumptions and exposures. Of the 33 individuals interviewed, 23 (70%) reported contact with backyard poultry prior to falling ill.
As of May 10, 2019, a total of 52 individuals have been infected with Salmonella Braenderup and Salmonella Montevideo across 21 states. The onset of illness ranges from January 12, 2019, to April 29, 2019. The ill range in age from less than 1 year to 60 years. Twenty-eight percent of the ill are under the age of 5 years, and the median age of the ill is 21 years. Information is available for 27 of the ill and indicates that 5 (19%) have been hospitalized with no deaths reported at this time.
Whole genome sequencing of 4 isolates predicted resistance to amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, ampicillin, cefoxitin, ceftriaxone, or tetracycline, which may affect the choice of antibiotics used to treat some individuals. However, an additional 5 isolates from ill individuals did not show evidence of antibiotic resistance. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is currently conducting antibiotic susceptibility testing on these isolates via the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System.
Earlier this year Contagion® reported that the United States saw 70 Salmonella outbreaks linked to contact with live poultry between 2000-2017, resulting in 4794 cases, according to reports from the CDC. The most recent surveillance reports indicate that live poultry-related outbreaks are on the rise with 9 outbreaks reported in 2016 and 10 reported in 2017.
In this particular outbreak, the ill individuals reported buying poultry, such as chicks and ducks, from a variety of sources including agricultural stores, websites, and hatcheries. A common source has not been identified at this time.
Current CDC guidance states that children under 5 years should be under adult supervision when interacting with live poultry. All individuals should wash their hands thoroughly after contact with backyard flocks and set aside a pair of shoes to wear only when handling live poultry.
The CDC also released guidance to mail-order hatcheries in 2014 advising the facilities to provide health-related information to owners and potential buyers of birds, including info about preventing Salmonella. Furthermore, the US Department of Agriculture offers a voluntary certification program that certifies that mail-order hatcheries are monitored for Salmonella bacteria.
This is an ongoing investigation and the CDC will provide updates as they become available.
To view state-by-state case counts from the multistate outbreaks of Salmonella infections linked to contact with live poultry in backyard flocks in 2019, check out the Contagion® Outbreak Monitor.