The Texas Department of State Health Services is warning people to be careful handling live poultry after a nation-wide salmonella outbreak.
More than 300 people in 37 states have fallen ill with Salmonella, 32 of them in Texas. Health officials say the outbreak is one of the largest ever linked to live birds.
“With the popularity of backyard chickens, more people are at risk of being exposed to Salmonella,” Dr. Linda Gaul, a Texas State Epidemiologist said. “Fortunately, the risk of infection can be greatly reduced by taking some common sense steps like washing your hands with soap and water immediately after handling birds and not bringing live poultry into your home.”
Salmonella bacteria can cause diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. Most people recover after four to seven days, but some with reduced immune function can develop a more severe illness.
Health officials also provide these tips:
- Don’t let children under age 5, elderly adults, or people with weak immune systems handle chicks, ducklings or other live poultry.
- Supervise children and wash their hands thoroughly after coming into contact with birds.
- Keep birds away from people’s faces or human food. Don’t drink or eat around live poultry.
- After caring for poultry, change your shoes before walking in the house.
- Clean all items used for poultry outside rather than bringing them inside.