NM Hatchery Source of 37-State Salmonella Outbreak

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Health officials have discovered the source of a massive salmonella outbreak that has swept across 37 states.

The salmonella strain has been traced to a poultry hatchery in New Mexico.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said cases of salmonella have been reported from California to New York since March, sickening 316 people.

No deaths have been reported, but at least 51 people have been hospitalized.

About 60 percent of the cases have been in children younger than 11 years old, including seven babies in New Mexico.

The strain was traced to Privett Hatchery in Portales, N.M. The hatchery sells live baby chickens, ducks, and other poultry by mail and supplies them to feed stores.

"People need to realize, even if they (baby poultry) look healthy, they may still be carrying salmonella," Dr. Paul Ettestad of the New Mexico Department of Health said.

"A lot of these cases, the parents bought these young baby poultry at the feed store and allowed them to run around on the kitchen floor along with the children," he explained.

Health officials caution people to wash their hands after handling live poultry.

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