As of this week, 938 people have become infected with Salmonella in 2020. Cases have almost doubled in the last month – 473 people have become ill since the last case report in June.
The presumed culprit in this outbreak is poultry farming. Public health officials interviewed more than 400 people who fell ill with Salmonella, and 74% of them said they had exposure to chickens and ducks.
Since the first disease was reported in January, the CDC said it had identified 15 multistate outbreaks. So far, three of them, found in Kentucky and Oregon, have been linked to poultry and their coops.
The CDC did not anticipate why more people were infected in 2020 than in previous years. Its timeline of reported cases suggests that cases began to spread by the end of March (spikes typically occur in the spring, when poultry farming is most popular, the CDC said).
Chicks and ducks can carry salmonella in their digestive system, which does not harm them, but can cause diarrhea, fever, and painful spasms in humans that are exposed to bacteria on birds’ feathers or eggs or their droppings.
Jane Christensen of CNN contributed to this report.