On May 20, the CDC announced it had been investigating a salmonella outbreak among people who had had contact with backyard chickens, with 97 people confirmed as infected. Now, a mere five weeks later in this cursed timeline, the CDC reports that 368 more people have been infected, 86 of them have been hospitalized, and one of them has died.
This is not the CDCs first time at the Backyard Chicken Salmonella Rodeo, and this isn’t the first time the agency is warning people about the hazards of homegrown poultry, either. Salmonella bacteria are commonly found in the intestinal tracts of chickens and do not cause disease in the birds. When chickens poop, that bacteria gets all over everything: eggs, feathers, grass, and whatever they’re in the mood to poop on. The interest in backyard chickens has exploded amidst the coronavirus pandemic, perhaps because people want to gain at least a rudimentary knowledge of poultry farming in the event that we enter any sort of post-apocalyptic living situation.
In investigating this specific outbreak, the CDC found that a large percentage of those infected reported contact with chicks obtained by agricultural stores, websites, and hatcheries. As such, the agency would like to remind chicken lovers young and old to always remember not to kiss or snuggle their precious birds, no matter how adorable they are, and to refer to their guide to safely raising backyard poultry to prevent future salmonella outbreaks.