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Salmonella outbreak among children associated with a backyard poultry surge during coronavirus blockade


Queensland Health is investigating the following outbreaks of Salmonella associated with contact with backyard poultry. COVID-19 Rapid increase in household poultry house during lockdown..

Last week, 17 cases were reported across the state, primarily in children. Thirteen of them were under the age of 11.

Five children became very ill with bacterial disease and needed to be hospitalized.

Most of the incidents involved the handling of chicks purchased from various produce and pet stores in the state two weeks ago, officials said.

According to the Queensland Department of Health, eight were in southeast Queensland, six were in central Queensland, and three were in the north.

Dr Arn Richards, deputy infectious disease agent at Queensland Health, said an investigation into chick suppliers to stores in these areas is ongoing.

“Backyard poultry can hide and shed salmonella, which causes disease in humans, even though the birds are healthy and clean,” Dr. Richards said.

Salmonella normally live in the intestines of animals and humans and are excreted through faeces.

Chicken egg
Health officials recommend that you wash your hands thoroughly after touching eggs or chicken.(ABC News: Muddy Easter Brook)

Humans are most often infected through contaminated water and food.

Dr. Richards said fever and stomach cramps can usually be felt within 6 to 72 hours of bacterial exposure.

The poisoning that occurs is not generally considered severe, but can be fatal to certain people, including infants and the elderly.

Queensland poultry producers report flooding households after people turned to backyard chalk for egg supplies after the coronavirus was shut down in March.

It was spurred by a staple panic buying that saw supermarket shelves emptying staples.

Here are some public health tips for backyard poultry owners:

  • Always wash your hands with soap and running water immediately after touching the chicken or egg.
  • Bacteria live in the enclosure and roam, so wash your hands without touching the animals
  • Do not allow children to snuggle, kiss, touch the mouth, eat or drink around the chicken
  • Do not allow chickens in the house


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