Salmonellosis

Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Infections Linked to Contact with Backyard Poultry

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and local health departments are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to investigate multiple outbreaks of Salmonella infections linked to contact with backyard poultry.

As of June 23, 2020, 465 people infected with one of the outbreak strains of Salmonella have been reported from 42 states. More than one-third (86 people) have been hospitalized and one death in Oklahoma has been reported.

Children younger than 5 years of age account for about one-third of the illnesses.

In Wisconsin, three laboratory-confirmed cases of Salmonella have been linked to this outbreak.

Outbreaks of Salmonella infections linked to contact with backyard poultry happen every year in the U.S. However, almost twice as many Salmonella infections linked to backyard poultry contact have been reported this year when compared to this time last year.

Many of these infections can be prevented. Please follow these tips to stay healthy around backyard poultry.

For more recommendations, please visit CDC’s Healthy Pets, Healthy People website section on backyard poultry.

More information about the 2020 outbreak and previous years’ live poultry-associated outbreaks can be found on the CDC website.

More information about backyard poultry can be found on the DHS Backyard Poultry webpage.

Salmonellosis is a bacterial infection that usually affects the digestive system, and occasionally affects urine, the bloodstream, or other body tissues.

Salmonella is a common cause of diarrheal illness in Wisconsin.

Salmonella is spread by eating or drinking food or water with Salmonella bacteria in it, by touching objects with Salmonella germs on them, or by touching poop from infected people or animals.

Every year, the bacteria cause nearly one million illnesses spread by food nationwide.

To prevent salmonellosis, it is important to wash your hands often and properly.

Salmonella bacteria

Salmonellosis 101

 Causes and Transmission

Baby chick, newly hatched out of egg

People can get infected with salmonellosis by eating or drinking food or water with Salmonella bacteria in it.
  • Salmonella are commonly found in raw meats, poultry, eggs, and unpasteurized dairy products.
  • It is important to wash your hands before and after handling food such as raw meats and eggs.
People can also get infected by contact with poop from people or animals that have salmonellosis.
  • Salmonella can be found anywhere in the environment and commonly lives in the intestines of many types of animals.
  • An infected person can spread Salmonella in their poop several days to several weeks after becoming infected.
  • Some people, such as infants or people who have been treated with antibiotics, may carry the bacteria in their poop for months.
  • About 1% of infected adults, and 5% of children under the age of 5 can carry Salmonella in their poop for over one year.
  • It is very important to wash your hands often and properly, especially after contact with animals, such as chicks, dogs, cats, and reptiles, after going to the bathroom, and before eating or handling food.

 Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms usually appear 18–36 hours after contact with Salmonella bacteria. However, they can occur as quickly as 12 hours or as long as one week after contact.

Common signs and symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Bloodstream infection (uncommon)

Certain strains of Salmonella can be more harmful than others.

Children, the elderly, and those with a weakened immune system may have more serious symptoms.

A person curled up on its side on a bed with hands on stomach

 

 Treatment

Most people do not need antibiotic treatment and will recover on their own. It is important to drink a lot of fluids to prevent dehydration while you are having symptoms.

 Prevention

Checking internal temperature of whole turkey with meat thermometer

  • Always treat raw eggs, poultry, beef, and pork as if they are contaminated, and handle accordingly.
    • Wrap fresh meats in plastic bags at the grocery store to prevent blood or juice from dripping onto other foods.
    • Refrigerate foods promptly; minimize holding at room temperature.
    • When refrigerating meats, place them on the bottom shelf to prevent blood or juice from dripping onto other foods.
    • Use a designated cutting board for raw meat. Cutting boards and counters used for meat preparation should be washed with soap immediately after use to prevent cross contamination with other foods.
    • Always wash hands with soap and water immediately after handling raw meat.
    • Avoid eating raw or undercooked meats.
    • Ensure that the correct internal cooking temperature is reached, particularly when using a microwave oven.
    • Avoid eating raw or undercooked eggs or undercooking foods that contain raw eggs.
  • Avoid using and drinking raw (unpasteurized) milk.
  • Carefully wash hands with soap contact with animals, such as dogs, cats, and reptiles and farm animals; after going to the bathroom; and before eating or handling food.
  • Make sure children wash their hands with soap before eating, especially after handling pets.
  • Always carefully wash hands with soap after using the bathroom.

 Resources

Provider Information

 Reporting and Surveillance Guidance

This is a Wisconsin disease surveillance category II disease:

Wisconsin case reporting and public health follow-up guidelines:

 Provider Resources

Salmonella Information for Health Professionals: The CDC webpage covering clinical features of a Salmonella infection, diagnosis, treatment, and more.

Questions about salmonellosis? Contact us!
Phone: 608-267-9003 | Fax: 608-261-4976

Last Revised: June 26, 2020