Hundreds of people across the United States are sick with salmonella, and the cause is likely to come in contact with backyard chickens.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on July 28, 938 people from 48 states are infected with salmonella.
Thirty-three percent of those people were hospitalized, and one death was reported in Oklahoma. Twenty-eight percent of those who are sick are children under the age of five.
In interviews with 409 sick people, 74% reported coming into contact with chickens or ducks bought from farm shops, off-site and from a hatchery.
Researchers tested garden chicken coops in Kentucky and Oregon and found three strains of salmonella outbreaks.
According to the CDC, birds can carry salmonella bacteria even if they appear healthy and clean and show no signs of disease. People exposed to poultry should take the following precautions:
- Wash your hands right after touching the poultry, their eggs, or anything in the area where they live and roam.
- Do not kiss or dig the poultry yard and then touch your face or mouth.
- Do not allow poultry in the yard, especially in areas where food or beverages are prepared, served or stored.
- Set aside a pair of shoes to wear while taking care of the birds and keep those shoes out of the house.
- Do not eat or drink where the birds live or roam.
- Stop outside when cleaning any equipment or materials used to raise or care for poultry, such as cages and feed or water containers.
- Always supervise children around the birds and while washing their hands.
- Children younger than 5 years should not handle or touch chickens, ducks, or other poultry, as young children are more likely to get sick.
People who treat eggs should do so safely by:
- Collecting eggs often. Eggs that live in the nest can be soiled or broken.
- Throw the cracked eggs. Germs on the shell can easily enter the egg though a split shell.
- Cleaning eggs with fine sandpaper, brush or cloth.
- Do not wash fresh and hot eggs as cold water can attract germs into the eggs.
- Food in the eggs after collection to maintain the freshness and growth of the germ slowly.
- Cook the eggs until both yellow and white are firm. Egg plates should be cooked at an internal temperature of 160 ° F or warmer. Raw and uncooked eggs can contain salmonella bacteria that can make you sick.