Salmonella food poisoning in 32 states linked to Mt. Healthy Hatcheries

An outbreak of salmonella poisoning, sickening  more than 250 people in 32 states, appears to have been linked to an Ohio live poultry hatchery, the Mt. Healthy Hatchery.Reports of illness have been recorded from Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

The CDC’s investigation indicated that 80% of ill people with certain strains of Salmonella Infantis, Salmonella Newport, or Salmonella Hadar infection reported coming in contact with live poultry in the week before their illness began. The investigation also determined that 90% of the individuals hospitalized reported purchasing live baby poultry from five different feed or farm stores companies in multiple states to whom Mt. Healthy Hatcheries distributes.

The live poultry Salmonella outbreak was first noticed by the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) on May 8, after reports were received involving at least 60 reports of visitors to the hatchery becoming ill from 23 states.

In the most recent update, the CDC found that the number of victims has grown to 251, including 54 people who were hospitalized for Salmonella infection. To date, there have been no deaths associated with the outbreak.

CDC officials have conducted epidemiologic investigation indicating that 80% of ill people with certain strains of Salmonella Infantis, Salmonella Newport, or Salmonella Hadar infection reported coming in contact with live poultry in the week before their illness began. The investigation also determined that 90% of the individuals hospitalized reported purchasing live baby poultry from five different feed or farm stores companies in multiple states to whom Mt. Healthy Hatcheries distributes.

Many of the families reporting illnesses stated they brought the chicks and ducklings into their homes and some even reported kids cuddling or kissing the animals.

Salmonella infections can cause mild to severe health consequences depending upon the individual. The bacteria may cause a healthy person to experience fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain whereas the young or elderly with weakened immune systems may face more severe consequences, including fatal infections. Occasionally, salmonella infections may travel through the bloodstream and produce illnesses such as arterial infections, endocarditis and arthritis.

Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers