A federal health agency says rear chicken chickens and ducks are the likely source of an outbreak from several states that have killed 52 people, including at least one person in Michigan.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said there have been 52 reported cases over 21 states. Five people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Those who became ill said the CDC reported being in contact with backyard poultry such as chickens and ducks. More than a quarter of those infected are children under the age of five.

"People can get sick with salmonella infections from touching backyard poultry or their surroundings," the CDC said. "These birds can carry salmonella bacteria, but appear healthy and clean and show no signs of disease."

The CDC does not release other specific information about the infected patients, including their ages and hometowns, but the age ranged from less than one year to 60 years. Diseases were reported between January 12 and April 29. So far, according to, Ohio has the highest number of reported cases with nine.

People at higher risk, older people, those with weakened immune systems, the CDC counselor should not handle or touch chickens, ducks or other poultry.

More: Backyard chill warming in the metro Detroit: What to know

Here is what to know about salmonella infection from the CDC:

  • Symptoms of salmonella infection – diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps – typically show 12-72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria.
  • Salmonella can spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other places in the body.
  • The disease usually lasts 4 to 7 days and most recover without treatment.
  • Salmonella infection can rarely cause death unless the person is treated rapidly with antibiotics.
  • Children under the age of 5, adults over 65 years and persons with impaired immune system are more
  • Adults must always have severe illness monitor the hand washing of young children.
  • Use hand cleaners if soap and water are not available.
  • Do not leave backyard products inside the house, especially in areas where food or drink is prepared, served or stored. 19659011] Wear a pair of shoes to wear while taking care of poultry and keeping these shoes outside the house.
  • Children under 5, adults over 65, and persons with impaired immune systems should not handle or touch chickens, ducks, or other poultry.
  • Do not eat or drink where poultry lives or moves.
  • Do not kiss backyard poultry or alleviate them and then press your face or mouth.
  • Stay outdoors when cleaning any equipment or materials used to raise or care for poultry such as cages or feed or water tanks.

More: Backyard hens in Michigan: Forbidden cities allow them

More information about keeping backyard poultry is available at

More: Fruit and Vegetable Pesticides: List of Cleanest, Scratching

More: Worried about your fruits and vegetables? How to wash them

Contact food author Susan Selasky at 313-222-6872 or Follow @SusanMariecooks on Twitter.

Read or Share this story: