16 Human Salmonella Infections Reported In Kansas

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A total of 316 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium have been reported from 37 states. 16 cases have been reported in Kansas.

From the CDC

A total of 316 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium have been reported from 37 states. Since the last update on August 9, 2013, nine new ill persons have been reported from Arizona (1), Kansas (1), New Mexico (3), Oregon (2), Utah (1), and Wisconsin (1). This outbreak of human Salmonella Typhimurium infections is not related to the current outbreak of human Salmonella Infantis, Lille, Newport, and Mbandaka infections linked to live poultry.

Among the persons who reported the date they became ill, illnesses began between March 4, 2013 and July 28, 2013. Ill persons range in age from less than one year to 87 years, with a median age of 6 years. Fifty-nine percent of ill persons are 10 years of age or younger. Fifty percent of ill persons are female. Among 199 ill persons with available information, 51 (26%) have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Illnesses that occurred after July 22, 2013 might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. This takes an average of 2 to 3 weeks.
Investigation Update

In interviews, ill persons answered questions about contact with animals and foods consumed during the week before becoming ill. One hundred and fifty-eight (81%) of 196 ill persons interviewed reported contact with live poultry (e.g., chicks, chickens, ducks, ducklings, turkeys, and goslings) before becoming ill. Ninety-seven percent of ill persons reported purchasing live poultry from agricultural feed stores. A total of 113 locations of feed stores representing 33 feed store companies were identified. Ill persons also reported purchasing live poultry from a farmer’s market, a flea market, or directly from mail order hatcheries. Ill persons reported purchasing live poultry for backyard flocks to produce eggs or meat, or to keep as pets.

State health departments have tested samples collected from chicks in ill persons' homes and retail locations. Samples collected by New Mexico, Vermont, and New York yielded the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium.

Traceback investigations of live poultry purchased by ill persons from feed stores identified 18 mail-order hatcheries in multiple states. The majority of traceback investigations identified Privett Hatchery in Portales, New Mexico as the source of the poultry linked to this outbreak. Many mail-order hatcheries use a practice called drop shipping when one hatchery is not able to fill a customer's order and a second hatchery is called upon to ship birds directly to the customer under the first hatchery's name. Customers might not realize that the actual source of the purchased birds was a different hatchery than the one where the original order was placed.

Environmental samples that were collected during an investigation at Privett Hatchery yielded the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium. The outbreak strain was identified from a sample collected in a duck pen. One (2.5%) of 40 samples collected from this hatchery yielded the outbreak strain. Additional laboratory testing is ongoing.

The owners of Privett Hatchery are fully cooperating with the New Mexico Department of Health, CDC, and the New Mexico Department of Agriculture to address this outbreak. Privett Hatchery is a participant in the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) program. The NPIP program is intended to eliminate certain strains of Salmonella that cause illness in poultry breeding flocks and hatcheries, but this program currently does not certify that these poultry are free from other strains of Salmonella that may cause human illness.

Contact with live poultry can be a source of human Salmonella infections. Poultry typically appear healthy and clean but can be carrying Salmonella germs that can make people sick. Many ill persons in this outbreak reported bringing live poultry into their homes or reported kissing or cuddling with the birds. These behaviors increase a person's risk of a Salmonella infection from contact with live poultry. Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching live poultry or anything in the area where they live and roam. Adults should supervise hand washing for young children. Additional recommendations are available. Because 18 different mail-order hatcheries supplied live poultry to the 113 feed store locations identified during this outbreak investigation, these recommendations are important and apply to all live poultry regardless of the age of the birds or where they were purchased.

Mail-order hatcheries, agricultural feed stores, and others who sell or display chicks, ducklings, and other live poultry should provide health-related information to owners and potential purchasers of these birds prior to the point of purchase. This should include information about the risk of acquiring a Salmonella infection from contact with live poultry. Agricultural feed store staff should clean and disinfect live poultry display areas routinely, especially before new live poultry are added to the display.