According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 1,000 people can become ill because of salmonella that has now been linked to backyard chickens.
Salmonella Outbreak Linked To Backyard Chickens
Given the large number of people across 49 states who were recently diagnosed with salmonella, the CDC launched an investigation in order to find the source. What they determined is that most of the patients had recently come into contact with chicks and ducklings purchased from agricultural stores and websites. They then determined that the outbreak was linked to several hatcheries.
Hopefully, knowing the source, the CDC can advise those raising and selling the chicks about how to stop the spread of the disease.
What Is Salmonella And How Does It Impact Patients?
Salmonella is a type of bacteria that is estimated to cause nearly 1.2 million illnesses each year. The majority of these infections are spread through food.
The symptoms of salmonella generally include:
Most patients are able to recover on their own at home, although the infection does typically last for 4 – 7 days. However, some patients do require hospitalization and some will die due to complications.
Of the 1,000 infected in this recent outbreak, two people have lost their lives.
Does Salmonella Leave Lasting Health Issues?
Most patients will fully recover from a Salmonella infection with no lasting health issues, however, some do experience joint pain. This type of joint pain is known as reactive arthritis and can last for years, resulting in chronic arthritis.
In some cases, those who have experienced severe diarrhea have reported that it took several months post-infection for their bowel movements to return to normal.
Backyard Birds And Salmonella
Raising chickens and ducks can be such a rewarding experience for adults and children. However, it’s important to remember that these birds can carry diseases like salmonella. Even when a bird appears totally healthy, they could be spreading the bacteria onto cages, coops, eggs, food and water dishes, plants and even the soil.
Those that handle the chicken and ducks can also have the bacteria on their shoes and clothing.
In order to prevent infection, it’s important for anyone who comes into contact with the backyard birds and their area to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water. In addition to this, there are other precautions you can take to reduce the risk of contracting salmonella, including:
- Using a specific pair of shoes to wear around the chickens and ducks.
- Don’t allow children under five or adults over 65 with weakened immune systems to handle the chicks or ducklings.
- Don’t allow chickens or ducks near areas where food is prepared.
- Don’t eat or drink in the coop environment.
What You Need To Know About Salmonella And Eggs
Yes, chickens can spread salmonella to eggs but salmonella isn’t only found on the exterior of an egg. Eggs can carry salmonella internally and if the egg isn’t well cooked, the bacteria can be contracted.
To reduce the risk of contracting salmonella from an egg, consider the following:
- When cooking eggs be sure to cook until both the white and the yolk are firm.
- Keep eggs refrigerated at 40 degrees or cooler.
- Wash hands that have come into contact with raw eggs immediately before touching anything else.
If you or a loved one suspect that you may have salmonella, seek a consultation with your physician as soon as possible.