Backyard Flocks Sicken People In Montana And Wyoming

Jul 25, 2018

Credit USDA

The  Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning about salmonella infections linked to several multi-state outbreaks, including Montana and Wyoming. The infections are linked to live poultry in backyard flocks.

The release from the CDC said the most recent illnesses began on June 21, 2018 with 88 of the cases reported in the last month. So far, 34 people were hospitalized; no deaths reported. More than a quarter of those infected are children younger than age 5.

CDC map of states with salmonella infection from backyard flocks.
Credit Center for Disease Control and Protection

Salmonella is a common bacteria that naturally lives in poultry, even in birds that may appear healthy and clean and show no signs of illness.

Several types of salmonella have been reported in this outbreak: Salmonella Seftenberg, Salmonella Montevideo, Salmonella Infantis, Salmonella Enteritidis, Salmonella Indiana and Salmonella Litchfield.

People can become sick by touching the birds or anything in their environment.

Staying healthy around a backyard flock is fairly straight forward for people with these flocks said Marilyn Tapia, Health Protection Director for RiverStone Health in Billings.

“Be sure to wash their hands with soap and water after handling chickens, the eggs and anything in the environment which chickens run and roam and lay,” said Tapia. She also recommended owners keep a clean environment for the flock, collect eggs often and refrigerate the eggs after they are collected.

Other recommendations include: not letting children younger than 5 years old handle or touch live chickens without adult supervision and to set aside a pair of shoes to wear while taking care of the birds and to keep those shoes outside the home.

The 2 lab-confirmed cases in Montana, both adult females, occurred in Lincoln County. Neither was hospitalized nor were any other illnesses reported in their respective households. One case was reported in Wyoming.