by Doug Powell
Another chick outbreak; they’ve always been there, but people of all professions may be more attuned to the chick link.
Idaho now joins the club as the source of the fifth Salmonella outbreak linked to mail-order chicks and ducklings to surface since 2011.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports 37 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Hadar have been reported from 11 states.
Eight ill persons have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
And, unfortunately, once again a high proportion of the sick are children 10 years of age or younger (37%).
Epidemiologic, laboratory and traceback findings have linked this outbreak of human Salmonella infections to contact with live poultry from Hatchery B in Idaho.
The mail-order hatchery has not been named at the request of state authorities. Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify cases of illness that may be part of these outbreaks.
Live poultry were purchased from agricultural feed stores or direct from the mail-order hatchery. Ill persons reported purchasing live poultry for backyard flocks to produce eggs or meat, or to keep as pets. Seventeen (85%) of 20 ill persons with available purchase information reported purchasing live poultry from various locations of 13 different agricultural feed store companies in multiple states. Because the potential for Salmonella infection exists wherever these live poultry are sold, and not just at one feed store, CDC’s recommendations apply wherever these poultry are sold.
Findings of multiple traceback investigations of live poultry from homes of ill persons have identified Hatchery B in Idaho as the source of chicks and other live poultry. The owners of the mail-order hatchery are working closely with public health and agriculture officials to address this outbreak. Hatchery B is a participant in the USDA-National Poultry Improvement Plan which is a program to eliminate Salmonella pullorum and Salmonella typhoid from breeder flocks but does not certify freedom from other strains of Salmonella in birds. Because the hatching season has ended for this year, Hatchery B is not currently producing live poultry for sale. Live poultry infected with Salmonella can appear healthy and clean, but still shed Salmonella germs that can make people sick.
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