July 25, 2024

Study: Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella From Live Chicks

Are you thinking of getting some chicks so you can produce your own eggs? Have the recalls of eggs from Daizen Farms, Michael Foods Inc., and the huge outbreak of foodborne illness from Wright County Eggs in 2010 have you forgoing eggs at the grocery store?

Your own hatchery may not be the answer. The CDC just released a study of an outbreak of Salmonella Altona and Salmonella Johannesburg infections linked to chicks and ducklings from a mail order hatchery last year.

Two clusters of human Salmonella infections from baby chicks were identified in 2011 through pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). From February 25, 2011 to October 10, 2011, 68 cases of Salmonella Altona and 17 cases of Salmonella Johannesburg had contact with live poultry the week before their illness developed.

Most people purchase chicks and ducklings (I have to think of Friends here) through mail order or from feed stores. Since 1990, there have been 35 ourbreaks of human Salmonella infections linked to live poultry from mail order hatcheries.

Contact with young children is especially problematic, since 32% of those with Salmonella Altona and 75% of those with Salmonella Johannesburg were under the age of five. And we all know how irresistible baby chicks and ducks are.

THe USDA’s National Poultry Improvement Plan (USDA-NPIP), the mail order hatchery industry, and other groups are developing a comprehensive Salmonella control strategy for live poultry. Mail order hatcheries must comply with the USDA-NPIP Salmonella guidelines, and educational materials warning customers should be given out with all live poultry purchases.

And if you want to purchase baby ducks and baby chicks, read through the CDC’s pamphlet titled “Risk of Human Salmonella Infections from Live Baby Poultry.

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