19 people have been infected by a recent salmonella outbreak in the United States. Eight of whom have required hospitalizations.
The majority of these new cases have been linked to the Pacific Northwest, with six cases coming out of Washington State and five in Oregon.
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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), current reports point to wild songbirds making people sick. Although the birds look healthy and clean, they can carry germs that can spread to pets and humans.
The CDC is recommending that those with bird feeders and birdbaths clean and disinfect them weekly, preferably outside. If they must be cleaned indoors, use a laundry sink or bathtub, and thoroughly clean the area afterward.
Bird feeders can be cleaned with soapy water followed by a soak in a bleach solution (nine parts water, one part bleach) for at least ten minutes. Rinse with water to remove bleach solution and let dry before refilling.
Be sure to avoid hand-feeding birds, and call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Diarrhea and a fever higher than 102°F
- Diarrhea for more than 3 days that is not improving
- Bloody diarrhea
- So much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down
- Signs of dehydration, such as: not urinating much, dry mouth and throat, or feeling dizzy when standing up