Common practice keeps salmonella safety simple for your family

Salmonella, a bacteria commonly found in poultry, is easy to prevent by practicing a common safety step.

The concern for salmonella safety comes after an outbreak in New Hampshire, which was blamed on a hatchery in Cincinnati. The people in New England purchased chickens and kept them as pets, causing quite the risk for sickness.

"You can get things like salmonella from handling live poultry," Mike Sammet, spokesman for the Hamilton County Health Department said.

Salmonella is fairly common among live chickens and other birds, according to the Center for Disease Control , and can be transferred from bird droppings, their feet and even their beaks.

Since the disease is so easily spread, health professionals recommend taking caution by scrubbing your hands often if you're around live birds and chickens.

"If you take your kids to the fair or to different petting zoos this time of year, always keep their hands washed," Sammet said.

Salmonella cannot be spread via skin contact, but when people come in contact with infected animals, the disease can be planted in mouths, eyes and ears through touching. The CDC said most people who contract salmonella experience diarrhea, fever and stomach aches.

Evie Gripshover owns several chickens, and has spent much of her life around farm animals.

"We do not use our chickens for meat, but we do prefer eggs from our chickens and not from the store," she said. 

Gripshover encourages folks to not worry, but rather to slow down and keep safety in mind.

"Same thing if you have a cat in your home," she said. "When you change the litter box, you're not going to (change it) and then go cook supper. You're going to wash your hands afterwards."

Sammet urges families to consider their options when it comes to pets before buying birds or chickens.

"Would you like your children playing with these animals? Are these something you want to keep in your yard, knowing full well that the elderly and people with compromised immune systems are much more susceptible to these types of bacteria?" he said.

In addition, when dealing with poultry for meals, Sammet said it's a good idea to make sure the meat is cooked all the way through, and of course, wash your hands often while in the kitchen or the dining room.



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