Agriculture

Salmonella Enteritidis in live poultry and poultry products

Recent cases of Salmonella Enteritidis in poultry and people exposed to live poultry associated with an Alberta mail order hatchery, have raised concerns about potential human and animal health issues.
 

What are the major issues?


Many small farm flocks throughout Canada obtain poultry from hatcheries out of the province or out of the country. Hatcheries and associated supply flocks that provide poultry to small farm flocks through mail order, retail/feed stores or other sources do not have the same level of segregation, monitoring and control typically associated with the supply to commercial flocks. 
 
In recent years, hatchery sources for small farm flocks have been linked to human infection with different types of Salmonella, primarily through contact with live birds. 
 
In addition to the current case in Canada in 2015, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported two large scale Salmonellosis outbreaks linked to contact with live poultry since 2013.
 
The current Canadian investigation has found human cases linked to contact with mail order poultry in Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Small numbers of potentially exposed chicks were also shipped to the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Quebec. 
 
Public health and animal health agencies in all affected regions are currently investigating the exposures and targeting communications to people who may have purchased these chicks.  

What can you do to protect yourself and your flock?

 
Owners and purchasers of chicks, ducklings, and other live poultry need to be aware of the health related risks associated with contact with live poultry, raw poultry products and eggs, including the risk of acquiring a Salmonella infection.
 
People who come in contact with live poultry or purchase poultry products that are not monitored through routine food safety programs should also be aware of the risks.
  • Small flock owners should request health-related information from mail-order hatcheries, agricultural feed stores, and other distributors of these birds prior to the point of purchase. This should include assurance and information about the type of health monitoring that occurs at the source hatchery and associated supply flocks. 
  • Salmonella can occasionally cause food-borne illness, from live poultry, poultry products and eggs, so care should be taken when handling live poultry, including thorough hand washing immediately after contact.
  • Children under five years of age, older adults and people with weakened immune systems should not have contact with live poultry. 
  • Poultry products and eggs should be handled properly to prevent cross contamination in food preparation areas, and cooked thoroughly to kill any bacteria.

What to do if you suspect Salmonellosis?

Poultry with Salmonella, frequently do not show symptoms of infection. If you have been in close contact with live poultry and believe you may have been exposed to or contracted Salmonella Enteritidis, you should:
  • Contact your health care provider or;
  • Phone Health Links–Info Santé at 204-788-8200 in Winnipeg; or toll-free 1-888-315-9257 for more information 

Additional Resources