Multiple salmonella outbreaks have sickened at least 324 people in 35 states, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Salmonella outbreaks involving seven different strains of the bacteria have been identified by CDC officials since January, confirmed via lab testing. Of those sickened, 66 have been hospitalized. One death has been reported, but the CDC clarified that salmonella infection was not considered to be a contributing factor in that case.
Symptoms of salmonella infection can include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, fever and chills.
In multiple cases the outbreaks were linked back to people interacting with live poultry, including ducklings and chicks from various hatcheries, according to the CDC. Those buying the baby birds told the CDC they bought the animals for a variety of reasons including to get fresh eggs, learn about agriculture, keep as pets or give away for Easter.
"Regardless of where they were purchased, all live poultry can carry salmonella bacteria, even if they look healthy and clean," the CDC said on its website.
People who are around live poultry should wash their hands with soap and water after touching them, not let children younger than 5 handle the animals and not let live poultry in the house, according to the CDC.
The outbreaks are expected to continue for the next several months since people may be unaware of the link between live poultry and salmonella infection, according to the CDC.