The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating an outbreak of Salmonella in multiple states, which the agency believes may be related to wild songbirds and bird keepers.
The CDC said on Thursday that 19 people in eight states were infected with Salmonella, a bacterium that can cause diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps six hours to six days after exposure. According to the agency, their age ranges from 2 months to 89 years old.
The CDC said: “Epidemiological and laboratory data indicate that contact with wild songbirds and bird feeders is likely to make people sick in this epidemic.”
Infections occurred in California, Washington, Oregon, Tennessee, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Mississippi, and Kentucky. According to officials, the first case was reported on December 27. So far, eight people have been hospitalized. There were no reports of deaths.
According to the CDC, in Oregon and Washington, Salmonella found in sick or dead pine siskins (a songbird species known for its yellow striped feathers) is closely related to Salmonella found in infected people.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife said in February that residents reported that sick or dead pine siskins are called salmonellosis by salmonellosis, which is caused by salmonella.
According to the department, birds can catch the disease when they eat, drink, or come into contact with bird feeders contaminated with bird droppings. The department said the infected birds “usually appear weak, have difficulty breathing, and may sit with furry or wrinkled feathers for long periods of time.”
The CDC recommends that people wash their hands after touching wild birds, bird feeders or bird baths. The agency also recommends that people clean and disinfect bird feeders and bird baths every week or when it is visibly dirty.
Most birds die within 24 hours of infection, and most people recover without treatment. Some serious conditions may require hospitalization and antibiotics.