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'Thousands' of Infections From 1 Poultry Hatchery

8-Year Salmonella Outbreak Traced to 1 Mail-Order Hatchery

Salmonella and Mail-Order Poultry continued...

The USDA can ask hatcheries to clean up their acts, but they can't make them do it. Hatcheries are asked to follow the USDA's "National Poultry Improvement Program," as egg farms are required to do. For hatcheries, compliance is voluntary.

According to Gaffga and colleagues, Hatchery C has tried to clean up its act. They did this by "replacing, updating, and sealing old equipment and floors; changing airflow within the facility; implementing a quaternary ammonium egg-cleaning procedure; improving biosecurity; conducting routine biologic surveillance for salmonella on the hatchery premises; and contracting with a private company to develop [a poultry vaccine]."

But between 2008 and 2009, 14 of 200 environmental samples from the hatchery still tested positive for the outbreak strain of salmonella.

How to Avoid Salmonella From Chicks, Ducklings, and Other Poultry

Young children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems are among the most vulnerable to salmonella infection.

The first rule about salmonella and poultry is not to give chicks or ducklings as gifts to young children. Give them stuffed animals instead.

But if you are part of the trend of keeping a backyard coop for eggs or meat, here's the CDC's advice:

  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching live baby poultry or anything in the area where they live and roam. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available.
  • Adults should supervise hand washing for young children.
  • Don't let children younger than 5 years of age handle or touch chicks, ducklings, or other live poultry.
  • Don't snuggle or kiss the birds, touch your mouth, or eat or drink around live baby poultry.
  • Don't let live baby poultry inside the house, in bathrooms, or especially in areas where food or drink is prepared, served, or stored, such as kitchens or outdoor patios.
  • Don't eat or drink in the area where the birds live or roam.
  • Don't clean any equipment or materials associated with raising or caring for live poultry, such as cages or feed or water containers, inside the house.
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