National warning on backyard chooks after salmonella outbreaks

The Food Safety Information Council today issued a national warning to people with backyard chickens to always wash their hands after handling the chickens or their eggs following salmonellosis outbreaks in Victoria and Queensland.

Council Chair, Cathy Moir, said that a recent salmonellosis outbreak in Queensland affected 17 people including 13 children under 11 years, five of whom were hospitalized. In Victoria there were nine cases of the rarer Salmonella Enteriditis, five of which were linked to newly purchased chicks.

“There have been recent reports of increased sales of backyard chickens and chicks during the COVID-19 lockdown. It’s great to have fresh eggs and for your kids to learn about where their food comes from but backyard chooks and ducks can be a source of Salmonella infections which can cause serious illnesses and, in some people, can lead to chronic conditions such as Reiter’s Syndrome or reactive arthritis. When purchasing pet chickens you should look for vaccinated birds from a reputable commercial source and keep them healthy with medications for parasites including roundworms and tapeworms. Also, if your chickens look unwell check with a vet.”

Here are eight simple tips about how to avoid infections from your chickens and their eggs:

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