SANTA FE, N.M., Aug. 20 (UPI) -- The New Mexico Health Department said it identified a poultry hatchery as the source of a nationwide salmonella outbreak that sickened 316 people in 37 states.
Privett Hatchery, located in Portales, N.M., supplies baby chicks, ducklings and other live baby poultry to feed stores and mail order customers nationwide, state health officials said.
No deaths were reported, but at least 51 people have been hospitalized and 59 percent of those who fell ill were children age 10 or younger, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said.
The investigation linked the outbreak of human salmonella infections to contact with chicks, ducklings and other live baby poultry purchased from multiple feed stores.
"Privett Hatchery was willing to conduct multiple tests," Retta Ward, secretary of New Mexico's Department of Health, said in a statement. "The department wants to remind parents not to keep live baby poultry in their homes. Any time anyone handles baby ducklings or chicks, they need to wash their hands thoroughly to reduce the risk of contracting salmonella."
Ward said Privett Hatchery was a leading innovator on the national level for years in helping to reduce the level of salmonella in live baby poultry that are sold to the public.
Ward said the hatchery:
-- Removed from sale the poultry from the pen where the positive environmental sample was taken.
-- Included the outbreak strain of salmonella in a commercially produced vaccine that will be given to all of the birds at the hatchery.
-- Decontaminated all eggs before entry into the hatchery.
-- Implemented cleaning and disinfection protocols for the hatchery and associated equipment.
-- Developed additional structural improvements to the facilities and control of the movement of employees between buildings to prevent cross-contamination.
The CDC said the number of ill individuals identified in each state were: Alabama (1), Arizona (8), California (9), Colorado (37), Florida (5), Georgia (4), Idaho (3), Illinois (1), Indiana (10), Iowa (7), Kansas (16), Kentucky (4), Louisiana (9), Massachusetts (2), Minnesota (3), Mississippi (6), Missouri (18), Montana (2), Nebraska (14), Nevada (1), New Hampshire (1), New Mexico (19), New York (17), North Dakota (5), Oklahoma (15), Oregon (12), South Carolina (1), South Dakota (9), Tennessee (2), Texas (32), Utah (11), Vermont (1), Virginia (1), Washington (19), West Virginia (1), Wisconsin (6) and Wyoming (4).