11 salmonella cases linked to Ohio hatchery

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire health officials say all 11 cases of salmonella treated since March are linked to the purchase of chicks from an Ohio hatchery.

The 11 patients — ranging in age from infants to 69 — became ill between late March and early July. Officials say two were hospitalized and all have recovered.

Authorities say all the cases stemmed from the purchase of chicks from various local farm supplies, but all the chicks came from the Mt. Healthy Hatcheries in Ohio.

The hatchery has been linked to an ongoing outbreak of salmonella in multiple states, as well as outbreaks in 2011 and 2012, health officials said.

While anyone can become ill from exposure to salmonella, health officials say the risk of infection is particularly high for children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems.

Typical symptoms of salmonella infection are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. These symptoms generally develop within one to three days of exposure and may last for up to a week.

Dr. Jose Montero, director of public health at the state Department of Health and Human Services, said it is concerning that the most recent cluster of cases is linked to a particular hatchery, but noted that contact with any chickens puts one at risk.

"That is why we want to emphasize that people follow appropriate and consistent hygiene recommendations every time they come in contact with live poultry, whether or not it is chicks or adults, chickens or other types of poultry."

Officials say poultry inflected with salmonella seldom appear sick. Poultry frequently carry bacteria, including Salmonella, which can cause illness in humans. Chickens and other poultry infected with Salmonella don't usually appear sick. The symptoms generally develop within one to three days of exposure and may last for up to a week.