Multistate Outbreak of Human Salmonella Montevideo Infections Linked to Live Poultry

The CDC is collaborating with public health and agriculture officials in many states and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, National Poultry Improvement Plan, and Veterinary Services to investigate an outbreak of human Salmonella Montevideo infections linked to chicks and ducklings from Estes Hatchery in Springfield, Missouri.


As of June 21, 2012, a total of 66 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Montevideo have been reported from 20 states. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Alaska (1), California (2), Colorado (1), Georgia (1), Illinois (1), Indiana (8), Iowa (2), Kansas (10), Kentucky (1), Massachusetts (1), Missouri (22), Nebraska (5), Nevada (1), New York (1), North Carolina (1), Ohio (1), Oklahoma (4), South Dakota (1), Vermont (1), and Wyoming (1).


Among the persons who reported the date they became ill, illnesses began between February 28, 2012 and June 6, 2012. Infected individuals range in age from less than one year old to 83 years old, and 35% of ill persons are 10 years of age or younger. Forty-six percent of ill persons are female. Among 43 ill persons with available information, 16 (37%) have been hospitalized. One death was reported in Missouri, but Salmonella infection was not considered a contributing factor in this person’s death.


In interviews, ill persons answered questions about contact with animals and foods consumed during the week before becoming ill. Thirty-nine (85%) of 46 ill persons interviewed reported contact with live poultry (e.g., chicks, chickens, ducks, ducklings, turkeys) before becoming ill. Of ill persons with live poultry contact, 38 (97%) reported contact with chicks or ducklings or both. Thirty (83%) of 36 ill persons with available purchase information reported purchasing live baby poultry from various locations of 13 different agricultural feed store companies in multiple states. Additionally, 5 (14%) reported purchasing baby poultry directly from mail-order hatcheries. Because the potential for Salmonella infection exists wherever these live baby poultry are sold, and not just at one feed store, CDC’s recommendations apply wherever these poultry are sold. Ill persons reported purchasing live poultry for backyard flocks to produce eggs or meat, or to keep as pets.


State health departments have tested chick samples collected from ill persons' homes. Four samples from different homes in California, Kentucky, Missouri, and Vermont yielded the outbreak strain of Salmonella Montevideo. Findings of multiple traceback investigations of live baby poultry from homes of ill persons have identified Estes Hatchery in Springfield, Missouri as the source of chicks and ducklings. The owners of the mail-order hatchery are cooperating with public health and agriculture officials.


Contact with live poultry can be a source of human Salmonella infections.


Mail-order hatcheries, agricultural feed stores, and others who sell or display chicks, ducklings and other live poultry should provide health-related information to owners and potential purchasers of these birds prior to the point of purchase. This should include information about the risk of acquiring a Salmonella infection from contact with live poultry.


See the CDC announcement