At least 39 Washingtonians have reported getting ill from Salmonella bacteria after coming in contact with live poultry in the past three years, according to reports reviewed by disease investigators at the state’s Department of Health. These 39 cases were associated with three separate national Salmonella outbreaks that caused more than 1,200 people to get sick. Contact with live poultry may also have contributed to more than 100 other cases of salmonellosis in our state in the past three years that weren’t associated with any known outbreak.
Spring is the season when many people who have chickens or ducks in backyard flocks buy baby birds. From the time the baby birds arrive at home, children should be supervised carefully to make sure they wash their hands immediately after touching the animals or their environments. Another prevention step is to make sure children don’t snuggle or kiss the young poultry.