Wildlife experts warn of salmonella infecting Kentucky birds
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A recent uptick in salmonella cases that could spread to humans has been plaguing some local birds, experts said.
“The CDC put out an announcement that there was a Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak in songbirds including goldfinches and pine siskins that had been linked to some cases in humans,” said Christine Casey, the state wildlife veterinarian for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife.
If bird feeders are cared for improperly, the disease can spread to people across the state.
“With feeders sometimes it causes the birds to kinda group up, and that can cause transmission. It is spread mostly by the feces, but it can spread individual to individual,” said Nic Patton, Manager of Wild Bird’s Unlimited Lexington.
The best way to prevent this is to make sure any feeders are cleaned regularly.
“We wash our dishes. We clean our cat and dog food bowls - it’s the same for wild birds,” said Casey.
If you’re not sure when a feeder has last been cleaned, the best thing to do is to take down the feeder. Then sanitize it with a 10% bleach solution and put it back up in two weeks.
“Bleach, soak your feeders, rinse them and let them dry completely before you put them back up,” said Patton.
Experts suggest that if you find deceased birds near your feeder, put on gloves, double bag it and call the Department of Fish and Wildlife. They will pick it up and analyze it for more details. Birds found dead within 24 hours have the best chance of detection before they go through decomposition.
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