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4 Human Diseases Caused by Chickens



diseases that can spread from chickens to humans

Jordan Walker is a pet lover who does not limit himself to learning about how to connect with pets. He also makes it a point to inform others about pet-related illnesses. In this post, the curator of Coops and Cages writes about four that are caused by chickens.

1. Salmonella

Salmonella is a germ that avian life usually carry. Commercial farm chickens, backyard chickens, and organically-raised chickens could all carry Salmonella. This bacterium does not cause any illnesses on the avian carrier, but it has harmful effects on humans. It can be contracted by coming into contact with chickens and their immediate environment.

(Image via)

(Image via)

The Salmonella germs can attach to anything that the chickens touch. In turn, the germs cling on to people that get close. These people are likely to become infected if they place their hands close to their mouths. That’s why, after touching or getting anywhere near the chickens, it is advised that you should immediately wash and scrub your hands vigorously. That would lessen the chances of you getting sick because of Salmonella.

2. Urinary Tract Infection

As if humans weren’t already susceptible to urinary tract infection or UTI, chickens have to get into the picture too. It has been found out that a bacterium found in the chickens’ intestines can be transmitted to humans. Enterococcus faecalis is the bacteria that causes UTI.

Just like the Salmonella, E. faecalis is thought to be transmitted to humans by way of their feces. The bacterium would then spread in the surroundings, even into the water. And any human that comes into contact directly with the poultry or with the dirt would become a likely victim.

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If no proper preventative steps are taking, a person carrying the bacteria on their hands could handle food that would then become contaminated, and from which the next unwary victim could develop UTI. That’s why the next time you want to drink from an outdoor water source, you should be careful.

3. Histoplasmosis

Histoplasomosis is a disease caused by Histoplasma capsulatum. This fungus usually affects the lungs, but symptoms can also occur in other parts of the body. Vulnerable parts include the eyes, skin, adrenal glands, nervous system, and liver.

H. capsulatum can live happily in moist places, but will most likely be present in environments where chickens are kept, particularly their coops. That is because this specific fungi come also from the droppings of chicken. They populate in the air as spores, and enter the human body through the respiratory system.

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At first, the symptoms it causes are not severe, but in actuality histoplasmosis is acute. To give you an idea how bad it is, histoplasmosis is very similar to tuberculosis.

For infection to be prevented, before you go anywhere near chickens, you have to make sure that you are wearing protective gear, especially face masks. Another thing you can do is to clean your chickens’ coops regularly.

4. Campylobacter Infection

Campylobacter has effects on humans similar to those of Salmonella. Infected humans would suffer severe symptoms like diarrhea, abdominal cramps, vomiting, and fever. Exposure to them could also cause lessened immunity which could lead to more complications.

As with Salmonella, Campylobacter is abundant in chicken droppings. It could also be transmitted to humans due to eating chicken or eggs that were not thoroughly cooked.

To protect yourself against these infection, you have to take care that you have to cook your chickens to a crisp first.

And while the above-listed diseases are mostly common in domestic or commercial farm settings, you must not forget that there are other avian lifeforms that carry these. For example, in the wild, bats too can transmit similar diseases to humans. You may unknowingly inhale infected air, or cime in contact with something that has been contaminated. So it’s best to be on your guard against these diseases especially when you’re out enjoying the outdoors.

Don’t let these dangers deter you from raising chickens. A dedicated chicken farmer who raises healthy birds and follows the right safety protocol will not have to worry about contamination. Healthy chickens start with healthy coops. Check out our chicken coop checklist to learn more.

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