The New England Journal of Medicine has published a study linking several US Salmonella outbreaks in the last eight years to a mail-order hatchery, Bloomberg reports.
The US Centers for Disease Control said that at least 316 people across 43 states has fallen ill due to salmonella infections traceable to the baby chicks sent from a mail-order hatchery. The mail-order hatchery industry, which is reporting record sales due to a boom of interest in raising backyard flocks and urban chickens, is becoming an important unwitting transmitter of sick birds.
The hatchery in question, not specifically named in the report, ships about four million birds per year. The hatchery has since taken advice and improved its biosecurity measures.
The added danger of backyard flocks and urban chickens is their increased exposure to wild animals, which could increase the dispersion of an outbreak.
The study in the NEJM studied the Salmonella outbreak that raged from 2004 to 2011, eight years spread across several states, sickening a broad age group (one month to 86 years). The study reports that the median age of those that fell ill, however, was four years.
The article is available at NEJM