Sixteen people in Washington have been diagnosed with Salmonella after coming into contact with live poultry, according the state Department of Health.
Cases were confirmed in Lewis, Mason, Grays Harbor, Pierce, Chelan, Clark, Cowlitz, King, Kitsap, Kittitas, Snohomish, Yakima and Whatcom counties.
Five people were hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported. Seven of the people infected are children under age 5.
The chicks and ducklings came from several sources including feed supply stores, hatcheries, websites and relatives.
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Health officials recommend that people who own or handle chicks and ducklings wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching them or anything in the area they live and roam.
Children under 5, adults over 65 and people with weakened immune systems are urged to avoid touching live poultry, health officials say.
“Salmonella is a bacteria that causes intestinal illness in people,” Thurston County Health Officer Dr. Rachel Wood wrote in a recent column for The Olympian. “It lives in the intestines of animals as diverse as cattle, pigs, iguanas and chickens. It is spread through feces.”