It’s nice that the bureaucrats at Alberta Agriculture are recommending that petting zoos implement a no-touch poultry policy for children under five years of age following a Salmonella outbreak linked to baby chicks, but what about the barriers? What about aerosolization of pathogens?
Alberta Health reports that 24 Albertans have become ill since April 5, including 10 children. Three adults and one child required hospitalization, but all four have since been released.
The outbreak has also been linked to illnesses in British Columbia and Saskatchewan. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) says all of the cases involved contact with live baby poultry, and most have been traced back to an unnamed Alberta poultry hatchery.
“The funny thing about Salmonella is that it causes noticeable disease in humans, but for a lot of animals, they’re not noticeably affected at all,” said Dr. James Talbot, Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health.
There’s nothing funny about Salmonella.
Butterfield Acres, a popular petting zoo located northwest of Calgary, is no longer allowing patrons to have any contact with live poultry on site.
In a emailed statement to Global News, a spokesperson said:
“We are taking precautions by adopting a no-touch policy for the poultry, and by restricting access to all our poultry pens. We are asking all visitors to watch the birds through the fences, and to use this situation as an excellent reminder that good hand washing is important.”