As of this week, 938 people have been infected with salmonella in 2020. The cases have almost doubled in the last month – 473 people fell ill since the last case report in June, the CDC reported.
The alleged culprit in this outbreak is poultry. Public health officials interviewed more than 400 of the people who contracted salmonella, and 74% said they had been in contact with chickens and ducks.
Since the first disease was reported in January, the CDC said 15 multistage outbreaks have been identified. So far, three of them, found in Kentucky and Oregon, have been linked to poultry and their Easter eggs.
The CDC does not speculate as to why more people are infected in 2020 than years ago. The schedule of reported cases shows that the cases start to grow in late March (cases usually appear in the spring, when poultry farming is most popular, according to the CDC).
Chickens and ducks can carry salmonella in their digestive tract, which does not harm them, but can cause diarrhea, fever and painful cramps in people who are exposed to bacteria in the feathers or eggs of birds or in their droppings.
CNN’s Jen Christensen contributed to this report.