Outbreak of Salmonella Related to Contact with Live Baby Poultry

June 4, 2015

Hobby farms and other non-regulated operations have their challenges. They are not part of a system that can detect issues of animal care and public safety as they simply do not  have the resources to monitor their own facilities nor are they required to follow the guidelines that our federal and provincial regulators impose on supply managed farms.

Interior Health is advising the public that an outbreak of salmonella is related to contact with live baby poultry originating from a hatchery in Alberta.

The investigation, involving IH, the BC Centre for Disease Control, BC health authorities, BC Ministry of Agriculture, Public Health Agency of Canada and provincial partners, has the potentially to spread to into Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan.

“In BC, 13 people from Interior Health Authority (IHA), Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) and Fraser Health Authority (FHA) have become infected with Salmonella since mid-April,” said a release on the BC Centre for Disease Control website.

“All of them have had contact with live chicks,” the release added.

“The chicks were purchased from one hatchery in Alberta, either through mail order or from feed stores in BC. Chicks were distributed from the hatchery to all health authorities in BC.”

The BC Centre for Disease Control said anyone who has contact with live poultry should take the following precautions:

Avoid close contact (e.g. avoid kissing) with all birds (Salmonella can be transmitted from the infected chicks to the other birds on the farm).  Birds that are infected may not appear ill.
Wash hands after contact with your birds or their environment.
Cook poultry meat and eggs to 74°C.
The most effective strategy to get rid of Salmonella in a flock is to depopulate, clean and disinfect the premises thoroughly and start over with new chicks.

The West Kootenay, has many farms and backyard chicken coops, with many located in the Slocan Valley, selling eggs to the public at either privately or at city markets.

Salmonella Enteritidis can live in the intestinal tract of birds.

People can become infected through exposure to a contaminated source which may include poultry meat and eggs or from handling live infected birds.

A person infected with Salmonella may experience symptoms such as stomach cramps, diarrhea, fever, nausea, vomiting and dehydration. Symptoms start an average of 12 to 36 hours after exposure.

Anyone who has had contact with live poultry and are experiencing symptoms of Salmonellaplease contact your healthcare provider.

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