HealthDay News — Backyard flocks of live poultry have been linked with Salmonella outbreaks that have sickened 52 people in 21 states, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

Five people have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported. Children younger than 5 years account for about one-fourth of the cases of illness.

People who got sick reported getting chicks and ducklings from places such as agricultural stores, websites, and hatcheries. People can get sick from Salmonella by touching live poultry or their environment. Birds that carry the bacteria can appear healthy and clean, the CDC said.

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Individuals who interact with live poultry need to be advised to always wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching live poultry or anything in their environment and to use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not immediately available. They should never let live poultry into their home, the agency said. They should have a pair of shoes that they use only when taking care of poultry and should keep those shoes outside of the home. They are advised to not eat or drink where poultry live or roam. They also should not kiss backyard poultry or touch their face or mouth after handling them. Cleaning of equipment or materials used to raise or care for poultry, such as cages or feed or water containers, needs to be done outdoors. Children younger than 5 years, adults older than 65 years, and people with weakened immune systems should not handle or touch chicks, ducklings, or other poultry.

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