“A lot of people perceive a bird with salmonella will look sick, but that is really not the case,” Dr. Megin Nichols, a CDC veterinarian, told CNN after an outbreak last year. The birds carry the bacteria on their feathers, on their feet and in their droppings.
Symptoms of salmonella begin 12 to 72 hours after a person is infected and include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramping. This can last about four to seven days, and most individuals recover without treatment. However, those who develop severe diarrhea may need to be hospitalized. Thirty-four people have been hospitalized as part of this latest outbreak.
Those who are very young, who are very old or who have compromised immune systems are most at risk for complications and severe cases of illness.
The trendiness of these birds has probably contributed to the rise in these illnesses, Nichols said, as more people want to know where their food comes and are providing it for themselves.
But the basics start with always washing hands with soap and water after touching the birds or anything in their environment. Equipment including food and water bowls can be contaminated with the bacteria, too.
To avoid tracking the bacteria elsewhere, use a separate pair of shoes for taking care of the chickens and don’t wear them inside your home. And, of course, keep the birds outside, too, so they don’t track bacteria into your home.
Children younger than 5 years old should be supervised whenever they are handling these animals as they are particularly susceptible to the infection because they often put their hands in their mouths. Be sure to teach them how to handle the animals.
If you collect your chicken’s eggs, wash them well before use and cook them thoroughly before eating.
News credit : Cnn