Salmonella outbreak in live poultry hits Wash., 10 other states

An outbreak of salmonella poisoning is spreading across the nation, with more cases reported in Washington than any other state, U.S. health officials said Saturday.

So far, 37 people in 11 states have been infected with the salmonella strain, which has been linked to live poultry from a hatchery in Idaho.

Nine of those infected are in Washington state. Two cases have also been reported in Arizona, one in California, three in Colorado, five in Idaho, two in Illinois, five in Oregon, two in Tennessee, one in Texas, five in Utah and two in Wyoming.

No one has died so far from the outbreak, but eight of the victims have been hospitalized, the U.S. Centers for Disese Control reported. Some 37 perent of illnesses are in children 10 years old or younger.

Laboratory findings and investigations have linked the outbreak to contact with live poultry from a mail-order hatchery in Idaho, which sells chicks, ducklings and other live poultry. The hatchery is not being named at the request of state authorities, CDC officials said.

Health officials said it's also possible that the number of cases could increase over time because there is a delay of two or three weeks between the time a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported.

Nearly nine of 10 victims of the salmonella outbreak reported contact with live poultry before becoming ill.

CDC officials say live poultry infected with salmonella can appear healthy and clean, but still shed germs that can make people sick.

Because live poultry from the affected hatchery may live in backyard flocks for long periods of time, people are advised to follow the advice to consumers issued by the CDC.