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FRIDAY, April 2, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Contact with wild songbirds and bird feeders appears to be the cause of a salmonella outbreak that’s sickened 19 people in eight states, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.
The illnesses have been reported in California, Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington state. Eight people have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported.
The outbreak is making both birds and people sick. Salmonella can spread between species of birds, to pets, and to people, the CDC said.
Wild birds can carry salmonella and still appear healthy and clean. You can get salmonella from touching a wild bird or something in its environment, such as a bird feeder or bird bath, and then touching your mouth or face with unwashed hands.
The CDC offered the following advice:
- Always wash your hands right after touching a bird feeder, bird bath or after handling a bird — even if you wore gloves
- Clean and disinfect your bird feeder and bird bath weekly or when they are visibly dirty. Feeders should be cleaned outside your house when possible. If you clean it indoors, use a laundry sink or bathtub, and thoroughly clean and disinfect the area right after.
- Keep pets away from bird feeders and bird baths and the areas under them.
- Do not touch or hand-feed wild birds with your bare hands.
- If you find a sick or dead bird, call your state wildlife agency or a wildlife specialist
- If you find a sick or dead bird in your yard, remove any bird feeders and baths for two weeks and clean them outdoors.
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