DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (CNN) – With the price of eggs rising, people may be tempted to buy a number of chickens to raise in their backyard.
But before you build a chicken coop and sign up for a Chicken Whisperer, health experts warn of the serious health risks of keeping chickens in your backyard. The reality is different than bringing home a cute new cat, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Control (CDC).
Chicken can spread bacteria
You must take extra care when handling chickens and their eggs.
Even when they look healthy and clean, backyard poultry can have salmonella in their feces and on their bodies, Dr.
The bacteria can live on the beak, feathers or feet of these poultry, as well as in their digestive tract, and can spread to all surrounding areas and to a person’s clothing, hands or shoes. It can infect people around it with disease.
Over the past year, several salmonella outbreaks have been reported. Benedict noted that backyard poultry has infected at least 1,200 people with salmonella.
At least 225 people have been hospitalized and two backyard poultry-related deaths have been recorded in 2022 alone.
“This has been happening for several years and at least 1,000 cases are reported every year,” Benedict said. “We expect the number of cases to be higher than that, but they are not necessarily reported to public health,” she added.
Chicken can also transmit Campylobacter bacteria
The bacteria don’t usually make birds sick, but they can cause diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps in humans.
Benoît pointed out that people with weakened immune systems, including people with conditions such as cancer, diabetes, kidney or liver problems, as well as young children, need extra care by raising chickens in court, as they may be suffering from a more serious illness. in case of infecting them.
Measures to ensure the safety of people
If you decide to keep chickens in your home, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Control warns parents not to allow their children under 5 to touch the animals. With older children, parents should monitor their interactions. Chicks may be cute, but young children are especially susceptible to salmonella because their immune systems are still developing.
Benoît stressed that “do not kiss or hug backyard poultry, and do not eat or drink near them.”
Backyard birds and their supplies should be kept in the yard and outside the home, to keep bacteria confined to where this type of bird lives.
People may also want to keep “chicken coop shoes”, which are the ones you use exclusively when interacting with chickens. Be sure to remove it before entering the house, so that bacteria do not get inside.
Always wash your hands after touching chicken or keep hand sanitizer outside so you can sanitize your hands before entering the house.
Precautions to take when handling eggs
When handling chicken eggs, people should pick them up immediately and not let them stay in the nest, where they can get dirty or break.
Broken eggs should be discarded, as the breakage allows bacteria to easily sneak inside.
When collecting eggs, if there is dirt, you should use fine sandpaper, a brush or a piece of cloth to wipe the dirt. Do not wash the eggs with water as cold water can attract germs to the eggs.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Control (CDC) recommends people refrigerate their eggs to keep them fresh. Low temperatures also slow the growth of germs.
When cooking eggs, make sure the yolk and white are firm to again reduce your exposure to bacteria.
“At the CDC, we want to protect people’s health, but we also understand that people have these close relationships with their chickens,” Benedict concluded. Benoît said: We salute this bond between humans and animals. There is a sure way to do it.”
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