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Backyard Chicken Coops Can Pose Viral Threat

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, March 12, 2021 (HealthDay Information) — Increasing chickens in your yard — a common trend in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic — retains pitfalls that can appear property to roost in an unwelcome way.

It really is currently effectively recognised that poultry can unfold the salmonella microorganisms to human handlers. But chickens cooped up in backyards could also be breeding grounds for viruses that pose an even more substantial public health and fitness threat, in accordance to Sonia Hernandez, a professor of wildlife disease at the College of Ga, in Athens.

“As a researcher who studies pathogen motion alongside different groups, I see yard chickens as a probable interface wherever pathogens can spill over into wild birds, or vice versa, and even into people,” Hernandez mentioned in a college news launch.

“Homeowners need to seek out data and health-related treatment for their animals to minimize those pitfalls,” she mentioned.

The biggest threat will come from domestic chickens’ probable as a reservoir for mutations in the so-known as avian flu (“chicken flu”). These viruses can infect commercially manufactured poultry and devastate those industries. But people could be directly affected, way too.


“Historically, most highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses only affected chickens in industrial operations,” Hernandez mentioned, “but lately, we have viewed that they can — in unusual cases — shift into people, and there are growing reviews of it affecting yard chickens and wild birds.”

Bird flu outbreaks could unfold to people, one thing that’s on scientists’ minds in a year dominated by a international pandemic of coronavirus. Most gurus believe that that SARS-CoV-two originated from an animal-to-human “spillover” event developing someplace in China.

“Individuals need to figure out that they have to just take some accountability for their health and fitness and the health and fitness of their animals,” Hernandez mentioned. “Also, we are residing in a pandemic at the minute mainly because of a spillover event, basic and very simple.”

Hernandez reminded the public that, moreover the probable threat from viruses, chickens can very easily unfold salmonella to people.

“It can develop into specifically perilous if you blend small chickens with small people — youthful chickens that are shedding a lot of salmonella with tiny children that do not have the finest hygiene procedures,” she mentioned.


Most people who get salmonella an infection have indications these types of as diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps, but about 26,500 Us residents are hospitalized thanks to these infections and 420 die each and every year.

Hernandez mentioned health and fitness officials are seeking to keep on prime of salmonella in yard chickens mainly because they have viewed an explosion of salmonellosis as holding chickens has obtained recognition.

Hernandez co-wrote a paper with Andrea Ayala, a postdoctoral researcher at Yale College in New Haven, Conn., about how diseases can be unfold in between chickens and wild birds. Recently printed in the journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science, it outlined strategies yard rooster entrepreneurs can keep their flock, wild birds and by themselves safe.

The procedures consist of positioning yard rooster feeders wherever only chickens can get to them and working with mesh to avoid wild birds from coming into contact with chickens and their coops. The authors also propose having rid of wild chicken feeders and getting rid of contaminated drinking water resources, insects and rodents. They mentioned it is also significant to retain good hygiene, these types of as transforming footwear when going to different flocks and restricting website visitors.


In the news launch, Ayala pointed out that, “as yard chickens develop into extra prevalent, the interactions in between wild birds and yard chickens are also probably to maximize. Wild birds are attracted to food items, drinking water and shelter, and yard chickens provide all a few.”

Additional data

The U.S. Centers for Condition Handle and Prevention has extra on yard poultry.

Supply: College of Ga, news launch, March two, 2021