The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has traced a recent Salmonella outbreak that has sickened almost 1,000 people around the US to recently acquired chicks and ducklings.
Salmonella is a type of bacteria that causes the foodborne illness known as salmonellosis. It is commonly found in raw or undercooked meat and poultry, eggs, seafood, and produce.
It can cause serious illness in certain vulnerable populations like children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems. Symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and fever.
Keeping backyard poultry has been growing in popularity in recent years, but the CDC warns that birds like chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys are a common source of Salmonella bacteria, even if they look healthy.
A recent article in USA Today reports that there is a health risk in treating these birds as pets.
People should always wash their hands after handling backyard poultry and avoid touching the face and mouth before hands are washed. It’s also a good idea to teach your kids not to kiss or snuggle them, no matter how cute those chicks are!
Avoid letting the birds into the house—especially the kitchen and dining areas—even baby chicks.
The CDC has traced this Salmonella outbreak to a number of sources, including farm stores, hatcheries, and online sellers.
Besides practicing safe handling techniques with the birds in your backyard flock, you should also be careful with any eggs you collect.
The CDC recommends collecting them in a timely way, throwing away any broken ones, thoroughly cleaning them of all debris, and making sure they are fully cooked before eating them.
Interested in learning more about how to safely keep backyard poultry? Check out the CDC’s complete resource guide HERE.
Salmonella can also be harmful to our pets. You can read our blog post about the risks of feeding dogs and cats a raw meat diet HERE.