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Department of Food Science and Technology


FST Faculty Can Speak on Salmonella, Backyard Chickens

June 7, 2017

Media Advisory: Ohio State Experts Can Speak on Salmonella, Backyard Chickens

COLUMBUS, Ohio — With 32 people infected, Ohio has the highest number of Salmonella cases in a recent outbreak involving 47 states where people had contact with backyard poultry flocks.

Two experts from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University are available to speak about Salmonella: Abigail Snyder, an assistant professor and food safety field specialist for Ohio State University Extension, and Ahmed Yousef, a microbiologist and professor of food science and technology. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the college.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and health departments are investigating the cases of Ohioans infected between Jan. 1 and June 1. None of the Ohio victims has died or been hospitalized, and there have been no deaths nationwide.

The Ohio cases occurred in 26 counties: Ashtabula, Athens, Auglaize, Carroll, Champaign, Clermont, Clinton, Columbiana, Delaware, Erie, Franklin, Fulton, Geauga, Hardin, Highland, Hocking, Jackson, Knox, Licking, Lorain, Mahoning, Montgomery, Morrow, Richland, Trumbull and Warren.

The people who were infected in Ohio had touched infected backyard chickens, then put their hands in their mouths, ate or drank something with infected hands.

Nationwide, 372 people have been infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella this year, a little over one-third of which were children under 5 years old.

Snyder works with consumers, retailers, farmers and manufacturers to prevent the transmission of foodborne pathogens including Salmonella, through education in sanitary practices and the development of processes that kill pathogens.

Yousef and his research team developed a process that pasteurizes eggs in the shell to eliminate Salmonella and other pathogens. They have four patents covering the control of Salmonella in food.

Outbreaks linked to contact with live poultry have increased nationwide in recent years as more people keep backyard flocks, according to the CDC. Live chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys, even those that appear to be healthy and clean, can carry the Salmonella bacteria on their feathers, feet and beaks.

Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment. However, the diarrhea may be so severe that someone may need to be hospitalized.

Not everyone infected by the Salmonella bacteria will become ill. Children, especially infants, are most likely to get sick from it because of their developing immune systems. Nationally, children under 5 have the highest rates of Salmonella infections.

To learn more about Salmonella, contact:

Abigail Synder
Assistant Professor and Food Safety Field Specialist for OSU Extension

Ahmed Yousef
Microbiologist and Professor of Food Science and Technology

For more information about handling backyard chickens, visit: