372 cases of Salmonella have been reported in the 47 states since Jan. 4, 2017, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that most of the cases were directly linked to backyard chickens.
The CDC suspects that the growing trend of owning backyard chickens is responsible for the Salmonella outbreaks. 83 percent of people interviewed said that they had contacted live birds a week before symptoms began. Some people interviewed reported buying live baby birds from feed supplies stores, hatcheries or website.
Children are particularly at risk for contracting salmonella; more than a third of cases in 2017 have been from children under the age of five. This is because children tend to touch their faces and mouths a lot and that is how the easiest way to contract the disease.
According to the CDC, the most important prevention technique is washing hands with soap after handling any live birds or poultry products such as eggs and meat. Children also require constant supervision while around chickens.
Last year, there were 895 human cases of salmonella in which three people died. The CDC predicts that 2017 is on track to surpass that number.