Child Safety

2017 Was A Rough Year For Salmonella In Backyard Poultry

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, says that there were more cases of Salmonella poisonings blamed on backyard poultry flocks in the U.S. in 2017 than in any other year prior. More than 1100 cases in 48 states were confirmed by the time the nationwide outbreak was determined to be over.

CDC map of people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella, as of October 5, 2017.

CDC map of confirmed Salmonella infections linked to backyard poultry flocks in 2017 outbreak.

By the time the outbreak was officially declared to be over, 1120 cases had been confirmed in 48 states. One person had died and 249 were sickened so severely they required a hospital stay. In all, 10 separate outbreak events were identified.

One thing to remember, say health officials, is that birds like chickens and ducks can carry (and pass along) Salmonella even though they look and act perfectly healthy. That’s why it’s especially important to follow some commonsense guidelines, like these from the CDC:

  • Always wash your hand immediately, and thoroughly, after handling poultry or anything associated with your birds.
  • Don’t allow poultry inside your home.
Children can and do get Salmonella from chickens they are raising.

Young children are especially vulnerable to Salmonella infection, say doctors, and should always be supervised around backyard poultry flocks.

It is important to keep in mind that young children are especially vulnerable to Salmonella. In its press release about its state’s own outbreak, Washington Department of Health added a few tips of its own:

  • Don’t allow children to kiss or cuddle poultry.
  • Don’t allow children to bring them into your home.
  • Supervise children’s’ handling of poultry.

Washington State health officials say they confirmed 23 cases during the 2017 outbreak. That was, they said, more than double the number they saw in the past 2 years put together.


Photo by Sean Malone on Unsplash