Some Sickened In Washington From Something Common In Backyards

This past winter, there was an egg shortage at the many grocery stores in Washington and other western states. 

It made my wife and I wish we had chickens to help us through the short-lived egg crisis. When our beloved hens were getting older and their egg production slowed; we sold them to a lovely family in Leavenworth who promised they were a “no-kill” animal shelter.  

Chickens raised in many backyards of homes, common across Washington, have caused a Salmonella Outbreak.

The map provided by the CDC shows the states with people sickened due to the outbreak. Washington and Oregon are the two states with the most recent cases in the Western US.


The outbreak has sent over 100 people to the hospital across the country with zero deaths reported as of this week.

According to the CDC, backyard poultry, like chickens and ducks, can carry Salmonella germs even if they look healthy and clean. These germs can quickly spread to anything in the areas where the poultry live and roam.

Raising chickens is fun and worthwhile. Just follow some common-sense advice from the CDC to help your family avoid getting salmonella.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water immediately after touching backyard poultry, or their eggs. Consider keeping hand sanitizer at your coop.
  • Don’t kiss or snuggle backyard poultry, and don’t eat or drink around them. This can spread Salmonella germs to your mouth and make you sick.
  • Keep your chickens and supplies you use to care for them and shoes you wear in the coop - outside of the house.
  • Always keep a close eye on your children around your chickens and make sure they wash their hands after being around the birds and their coop.
  • Due to younger children being more likely to get sick from Salmonella, don’t allow kids younger than 5 years to touch chicks, ducklings, or other backyard poultry.
  • With this in mind, chickens should not be kept in schools, childcare centers, and other facilities with children younger than 5 years old.
  • Collect eggs often. 
  • Throw away cracked eggs - as germs on the shell can easily get into the egg through cracks. 
  • Rub off dirt on eggs with fine sandpaper, a brush, or a cloth. Don’t wash eggs because colder water can pull germs into the egg.
  • Even though eggs with the coating provided by your hens, can stay fresh at room temperature, you should still refrigerate the eggs - to slow the growth of germs.

Call your doctor or healthcare provider right away if you or your family have any of these symptoms:

  • Diarrhea and a fever higher than 102°F
  • Diarrhea for more than 3 days that is not improving
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Vomiting - and you can’t keep liquids down 
  • Showing signs of dehydration (i.e. - Not peeing much, dry mouth and throat, feeling dizzy when standing up) 

INFO: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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