National salmonella outbreak linked to baby chicks from Ohio

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COLUMBUS — Ohio officials report that eight separate salmonella illnesses in Ohio are part of a multistate outbreak associated with chicks and/or ducklings purchased this year at agricultural supply stores sourced from an Ohio hatchery.

These birds were sold at numerous agricultural outlets across the state. Nationwide, a majority of individuals reported exposure to chicks and/or ducklings purchased at different locations of a national agricultural feed store that reported obtaining their chicks and ducklings from an Ohio-based company, Mt. Healthy Hatchery.

The eight ill Ohioans range in age from 3 months to 76 years and live in Ashtabula, Columbiana, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Licking, Medina and Wood counties.

Specimens obtained from chicks belonging to one of the Ohio cases yielded the outbreak strain of Salmonella Altona.

Handle with care

The Ohio Departments of Health and Agriculture are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the USDA’s National Poultry Improvement Plan, and Ohio’s local health departments in responding to the outbreak.

Officials are encouraging any purchaser of baby chicks this year to use caution in their handling and care. Agricultural supply stores that sell chickens and ducklings can download a consumer information poster from the CDC, Ohio Department of Health or from the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

Both businesses have been working with state and federal officials to investigate the outbreak and to stop additional individuals from becoming ill. Other companies may have also received and distributed infected chicks and ducklings.

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