Nine cases of salmonella have been reported in the Interior Health region, and two people in B.C. have been hospitalized due to the outbreak resulting from contact with baby chicks.
Interior Health, along provincial and federal health agencies, continue to investigate a salmonella outbreak that originated from a hatchery in Alberta.
“The risk is present throughout the province because the baby chicks were shipped everywhere in the province and everywhere in Interior Health,” said Dr. Althea Hayden of Interior Health.
Very young, very old, and people with other medical problems to have immune compromising conditions are most at risk.
“We are trying to get in touch with people who own backyard flocks and make them aware there is always a risk that baby chicks could carry salmonella,” Hayden said.
To avoid spreading the infection, people with poultry should take extra precaution.
“They should make sure they use good hand hygiene, they don’t kiss their chicks, or snuggle with their chicks, as tempting as it may be given how adorable the baby chicks are,” Hayden said. “The safest thing to do is if you are going to handle them only touch them with your hands and then wash your hands after you’ve done that.”
Baby chicks housed with other birds can spread the infection, and it can even spread to the ovaries and into eggs.
It is no problem if people cook their eggs and poultry thouroughly.
“We want to make sure people are aware of these risks and use safe food practices,” Hayden said.
The Ministry of Agriculture is offering free testing to folks who have backyard flocks who have been affected by this particular outbreak.
For more information, check out the Ministry of Agriculture’s fact list HERE.