National salmonella outbreak linked to New Mexico hatchery

The New Mexico Department of Health announced on Monday that a national salmonella outbreak was linked to a New Mexico hatchery in an investigation conducted by the Scientific Laboratory Division.

Researchers from the Scientific Laboratory Division found that the strain of salmonella in the New Mexico hatchery was identical to the strain of salmonella found in people. The hatchery, called Privett Hatchery, is located in Portales. It breeds poultry and supplies baby poultry to feed stores and to people via mail orders.

There have been 316 cases of salmonella across 37 states reported to date, with 60 percent of infections belonging to children under the age of 10. No deaths have been reported, but more than 50 hospitalizations have occurred. Health Department officials commended the hatchery for being cooperative and reminded parents to wash their hands after handling live poultry.

"I want to emphasize how cooperative the hatchery has been in helping to identify the source of this outbreak by working with officials from numerous agencies," New Mexico Department of Health Secretary Retta Ward said. "Privett Hatchery was willing to conduct multiple tests. 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."

Salmonella poisoning usually results in nausea, abdominal pain, fever, headache, chills and/or diarrhea. Proper hygiene when handling live poultry will help decrease the risk of contracting salmonella and other bird-borne diseases, such as the influenza.