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What is salmonella?

Salmonella is a bacteria that can be found in uncooked foods like raw eggs or raw chicken. It can also be found on fruits and vegetables.

How does salmonella spread?

The salmonella bacteria is passed through the feces of birds, and the bacteria spreads where the birds roam. The bacteria also get on the feathers of the birds. When you or other people touch the bird or the area where it has been, the bacteria can get on your hands. When you touch your hands to your mouth or prepare food, the bacteria is swallowed and can cause disease. People can spread the bacteria in their feces, too.

Always wash your hands with soap and water after handling birds or cleaning the area where birds have been.

The salmonella bacteria is usually normal for birds, so your bird may not seem sick from this bacteria. Even if the bird does not have diarrhea or any other problems, it can still spread the germs through its feces.

Salmonella and People

Getting sick from salmonella

Salmonella in humans can cause an upset stomach, cramps, diarrhea, fever, nausea and vomiting. Most people get sick 12 hours to 36 hours after the bacteria is swallowed. Symptoms usually last for several days. Some people may get sick enough to go to the hospital. In rare cases, the bacteria can get into the blood and become life-threatening.

Who is at greatest risk of getting sick?

  • Babies and children

  • Elderly people

  • Pregnant women

  • People who have a weakened immune system from conditions like: HIV/AIDS, cancer treatments, organ transplants, kidney disease, liver or spleen problems, certain treatments such as steroids, other immune system problems.

People at high risk can end up in the hospital. Children and infants are at especially high risk of getting bad infections. Some young children have become sick enough to die from salmonella.

What can you do?

Talk to your doctor.

Be sure to watch yourself and others for signs of this disease. If you think you might have symptoms, see your doctor right away. Be sure to tell your doctor you have birds.

Wash your hands!

Always wash your hands carefully with soap and running water after touching a bird or cleaning its housing. Keep birds away from kitchens and food; don't clean their food or water containers in the sink. Always wash your hands carefully before touching food. Don't wash birds in the kitchen, kitchen sink or bathtub; their germs can spread to the places where you eat food or drink water.