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Do you have chickens or ducks? Here are some tips to avoid salmonella

Two urban chickens waiting to get fed in a backyard.
Two urban chickens waiting to get fed in a backyard. McClatchy

A record number of salmonella cases nationwide last year were linked to backyard poultry, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Around 1,120 cases in 48 states and the District of Columbia were tracked from January to September. Only one death was recorded nationwide, but there were at least 249 hospitalizations, according to CDC data.

Of the more than 1,100 cases, 23 were in Washington state, with one in Whatcom County, according to Jessica Baggett, with the state Department of Health.

Information on the Whatcom County case was not immediately available.

Lewis County had the highest, with three cases reported, Baggett said.

Overall, this year’s number was more than double the previous two years’ cases combined.

Live poultry, such as chickens or ducks, can carry salmonella but appear to be healthy and clean, and show no signs of illness. Infection can come from a variety of sources, such as eating contaminated food or water or touching infected animals. Children are more at risk due to more frequent hand-to-mouth contact.

If you’re coming in contact with live poultry, here are some tips to avoid salmonella:

▪  Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching live poultry or anything in the area where the birds roam or live; adults should supervise handwashing for children.

▪  Do not snuggle, kiss or let live poultry inside the house.

▪  Do not let children younger than 5 years old handle or touch chicks, ducklings or other live poultry without adult supervision.

Denver Pratt: 360-715-2236, @DenverPratt

Salmonella cases by county in Washington state

▪  Grays Harbor -1

▪  Clark -1

▪  Cowlitz -2

▪  Snohomish -2

▪  Lewis -3

▪  King -3

▪  Kitsap -1

▪  Chelan -1

▪  Pierce -2

▪  Whatcom -1

▪  Yakima -2

▪  Thurston -1

▪  Kittitas -1

▪  Mason -1

▪  Grant -1

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