Luke Gabriele was a healthy 14-year-old football player in Pennsylvania when he began to feel soreness in his chest that grew increasingly painful. When his breathing became difficult, doctors detected a mass that appeared to be a tumor.
For a week, Dan and DeAnna Gabriele thought their son was dying until tests identified the cause: not cancer, but chickens — the ones he cared for at home. They had apparently infected him with salmonella that produced a severe abscess.
The popular trend of raising backyard chickens in U.S. cities and suburbs is bringing with it a soaring number of illnesses from poultry-related diseases, some of them fatal.
Since January, more than 1,100 people have contracted salmonella poisoning from chickens and ducks in 48 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Almost 250 were hospitalized and one person died. The toll was four times higher than in 2015.