Salmonella, what is the cause?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Swamp Roo, May 20, 2008.

  1. Swamp Roo

    Swamp Roo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay, first off this is not a bash the commercial operations post. I am wondering why commercial farms are so inundated (allegedly) with salmonella? Years ago I was told that the reason for salmonella in eggs was that the producers would "starve" the layers in order to increase production. I'm still new to keeping chickens, but with all of the reading I've done (here and elsewhere), that seems an unlikely thing. Happy well fed chickens equals more eggs right? Much could be said of big time producers, but stupid is not one of them. If they weaken their chickens, they are just begging for a flock epidemic of one sort or another. Again I'm not trolling for "spank commercial producer stuff" here. I'm just trying to understand. While we are at it, what are the conditions required for salmonella to get the upper hand? I would expect two different scenarios. One being a depressed immune system (stress, environmental factors, lack of food, etc). The other being over exposure to the pathogen such as eating something that has a large colony of the bacterial (bacteria not virus right?) on/in it, inhalation (if salmonella can even be airborne?), or introduction into the bloodstream though a wound or mucus membrane. I'm sure there are other means of infection. I also expect it is not just exposure, it is the quality and quantity of exposure. I say this because they have even found out that it is not just exposure to HIV that is required to get AIDS, but the amount of exposure. Plenty of cases where direct blood stream contact did not infect recipient out there. So what is the problem with commercial interests? I'm asking, because if I can understand the "how", I can take steps to prevent exposure to myself and my chickens. I'm not a pathologist, so my understanding of all of this is pretty rudimentary. I'm also not overly paranoid about these things, but common sense says to be informed and make adjustments if reasonable.
     
  2. CarlaRiggs

    CarlaRiggs Chillin' With My Peeps

    Just the other day I read a blog article about geckos being found in eggs. The lizards were between the shell and the inner lining of the egg. The hypothesis is that the gecko crawled into the chicken, looking for food (forming eggs) and was trapped.
    Because lizards are known to have salmonella, they supposedly were able to transmit it to the egg.
    Of course, not all areas have geckos. [​IMG] But I would think that salmonella would be easily transferable this way, ie. from other chickens carrying it or the soil.... myriads of ways to transfer, I would guess.
    If anyone knows more about this, please step it and correct me.
    I think it rather interesting... [​IMG]

    Carla
     
  3. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    How do people catch Salmonella?

    Salmonella live in the intestinal tracts of humans and other animals, including birds. Salmonella are usually transmitted to humans by eating foods contaminated with animal feces. Contaminated foods usually look and smell normal. Contaminated foods are often of animal origin, such as beef, poultry, milk, or eggs, but all foods, including vegetables may become contaminated. Many raw foods of animal origin are frequently contaminated, but fortunately, thorough cooking kills Salmonella. Food may also become contaminated by the unwashed hands of an infected food handler, who forgot to wash his or her hands with soap after using the bathroom.

    Salmonella may also be found in the feces of some pets, especially those with diarrhea, and people can become infected if they do not wash their hands after contact with these feces. Reptiles are particularly likely to harbor Salmonella and people should always wash their hands immediately after handling a reptile, even if the reptile is healthy. Adults should also be careful that children wash their hands after handling a reptile.
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:Well, there are actually 3 different things here: the chickens, the eggs, and the meat that is sold.

    My understanding is that salmonella in eggs is actually quite rare - I apolgize for being too lazy to google at the moment due to a sleeping baby on one arm (I can type pretty fast one-handed now [​IMG]), but I believe that surveys suggest it's something like 1 in 30,000 commercial eggs that has internal salmonella contamination? (Which an egg gets from the hen having a heavy salmonella load -- the salmonella bacteria are circulating in the hen's body, the egg is formed inside the body before the shell goes on, you can connect the dots yourself [​IMG])

    The reason that chicken meat (actually, supermarket meat in general) is so frequently salmonella-contaminated -- and THAT is where you're gonna get food poisoning from, not, most likely, salmonella inside eggs -- is the way the carcasses are cleaned, cooled and processed. When the same rinse water and equipment is used for a gajillion carcasses, the ones that have some fecal contamination (understandable to happen sometimes, when the innards are being removed) will then contaminate allllllll the rest of 'em.

    In contrast, I have not heard (although if I'm missing something, please point me to the source of your info so I can become better educated [​IMG]) that actual live chickens in factory farms have a particularly high rate of problems with salmonella. In a clinical sense anyhow. The thing is, they can easily carry a low level of the bacterium (as do many other things, e.g. lots of herptiles) without being ill. Especially in the feces. So it does not take too many clinically-healthy slightly-salmonella-carrying chickens to cr*p up the whole meat production line.

    If your chickens at home are healthy, and not exposed to large amounts of their own (or other critters') feces on a regular basis, your odds with their eggs are probably sort of ballpark the same as a commercial operation. (People DO periodically die of salmonella contracted from farmyard or free-range eggs, though, so do not be too smug [​IMG]). And if you are processing your chickens for meat, you can give MUCH better attention to hygeine, and thus should be well ahead of the game. I still would not personally eat chicken tartare, however [​IMG]

    Hope this helps,

    Pat
     
  5. Swamp Roo

    Swamp Roo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Spottedcrow:

    But why would reptiles and chickens be more susceptible in general? Also, what environmental conditions, that occur in larger operations, trigger susceptibility? I'm assuming it's environmental and not genetic, or else every chicken would be dead by now.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2008
  6. CarlaRiggs

    CarlaRiggs Chillin' With My Peeps

    Another interesting sidelight re: chicken factories ~ the workers there also seem to be carrying salmonella bacteria. Like tuberculosis, a person can post positive for salmonella on a test, but not be sick. But individual tests show that the workers are exposed to it through their work.

    Carla
     
  7. bluie

    bluie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Spotted Crow says, the bacteria lives in the intestinal tract. From what I understand, in a commercial operation, the chickens live in small cages that are stacked up several cages high. Woe to the poor chicken on the bottom of the stack, getting pooped on all day. If a chicken up high has salmonella, it likely spreads it to the ones below. It seems, to me, that its primarily poor sanitation that causes the spread of disease in a commercial operation.
     
  8. Swamp Roo

    Swamp Roo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Pat:

    Thanks, makes a lot of sense to me, especially the slaughtering tech. The 1:30,000 number is a bit spooky considering how many eggs just one chicken house is likely to produce in a single day. But it will be a while before I have owned and eaten eggs from 30,000 chickens, maybe! [​IMG] It is after all 1:30,000 chickens that is the source for the bad egg. I guess this would be another problem with Cornish X's, after all, it sounds like they just eat and... all day long preferably from a sitting position. I wonder if the litter in a grower house is changed during the lifetime of a production chicken? Might be financially challenging.
     
  9. fowltemptress

    fowltemptress Frugal Fan Club President

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    http://www.idph.state.il.us/public/hb/hbsam.htm


    I
    do know reptiles and poultry tend to be asymptomatic carriers of salmonella, while mammals usually exibit signs of sickness, which may account for why reptiles and poultry seem to be a greater source for salmonella contraction. When people can tell an animal is sick, they are more likely to use sanitary precautions around it.
     
  10. Swamp Roo

    Swamp Roo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Carla,
    Interesting, I wonder if a person or chicken can build up a resistance. Not that would want to need to. Thanks

    Bluie,
    That is just where my knowledge is limited. Okay that's not the only place! I like the rest of the population I have been fed all sorts of information about conditions in big operations. Whether intentional or not, I wonder how much of it is accurate. I get really frustrated when one group says X is horrible, and the other says it's not a problem, especially when both groups obviously have an agenda. I figure people here know more that average, and most don't have an axe to grind. Thanks

    BTW I just reread that and was not questioning the validity of you statement.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2008

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