LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Nearly 400 people have been sickened in salmonella outbreaks linked to backyard chickens.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating eight different outbreaks in 47 states, including Louisiana.
The latest map from the CDC shows Louisiana has had nine confirmed salmonella cases linked to backyard chickens since January. These outbreaks are caused by several kinds of Salmonella bacteria.
Most people infected with Salmonella develop symptoms 12 to 72 hours after infection, according to Lake Area Medical Center emergency room physician, Dr. John DiGiglia.
"Salmonella is a bacteria that when someone gets exposed to it, it can cause gastroenteritis, which is vomiting, nausea, diarrhea," he said.
Dr. DiGiglia, says salmonella infections generally last four to seven days, but if it lasts longer than that or you're experiencing severe stomach cramps or signs of dehydration, see a doctor.
IV fluids might be needed or antibiotics if the bacteria gets into the bloodstream.
"Usually it's not treated with antibiotics, except in severe cases and people that are immuno-compromised, their immune system doesn't work as well, may need to be treated with antibiotics," said Dr. DiGiglia.
With the nationwide salmonella outbreak, the CDC reports most patients had been in contact with live poultry the week before falling ill.
Of the nearly 400 people infected, more than a third are children and that is why experts are warning against cuddling or kissing the chickens. Children younger than five years old should not handle live birds without adult supervision.
If you have backyard chickens, health experts recommend you wash your hands after touching any birds.
The summer time is also the time of the year emergency rooms see a rise in salmonella infections related to food-borne illnesses.
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