Salmonella Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices: A Survey of Backyard Poultry Owners Residing in Seattle and King County, Washington.
Kauber, Kelly Jean
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Background: Backyard poultry flocks raised in urban settings are becoming increasingly popular across the country; however, hospitalizations related to contact with poultry are reported each year. Understanding husbandry practices and general Salmonella knowledge of backyard flock owners will help highlight future educational outreach to reduce exposure related to caretaking practices. Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study was developed to better understand the knowledge, attitudes, and practices around Salmonella risk and prevention in backyard poultry owners living in Seattle and King County, Washington. Fifty households were recruited from June through October 2014. Selection criteria required participants to be at least18 years old, own at least one chicken and live in Seattle/ King County. A 61-question written survey was administered orally to the study participants. The questions focused on bird health, biosecurity practices, husbandry practices, attitudes about Salmonella risk, and general Salmonella knowledge. Participants were videotaped while caring for their birds, and this information was transcribed using notational analysis to determine if reported behaviors differed from observed practices. Results: The results from this survey indicated that while a large proportion of subjects knew that exposure to Salmonella is an inherent risk associated with raising poultry and harvesting eggs, preventive behaviors and husbandry practices of subjects did not consistently reduce risk of transmission of zoonotic disease. Approximately 1 in 4 participants reported performing behaviors that increase risk of hand to mouth contact around their birds, such as snuggling and kissing birds or eating/drinking near them. None of the participants were observed kissing their birds on video; however, holding birds or touching their face during routine care was observed in approximately two-thirds of the video recordings. Use of personal protective equipment, including gloves and masks when cleaning the coop was lower than reported when compared to the video recordings. Education and outreach targeting backyard flock owners to should aim to improve husbandry practices and awareness of how to reduce zoonotic risks associated with raising poultry in the backyard setting.
- Health services