At least 21 people in eight states have contracted Salmonella Heidelberg infections associated with exposure to dairy calves from Wisconsin, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). DNA testing from human and animal samples has confirmed that multiple cases of the Salmonella infection share a common genetic source.
The outbreak serves to remind animal handlers of the potential risk of exposure to pathogenic bacteria when working with livestock, and of steps to take in reducing that risk. Read more about the outbreak in Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Dairy Calves on BovineVetOnline.com.
As the investigation continues, the CDC provides these tips for animal handlers on avoiding and preventing the spread of Salmonella and other infectious diseases while working with livestock.
Advice for Livestock Handlers
This outbreak is a reminder to use a One Health approach to preventing illness, which recognizes that the health of people is connected to the health of animals and the environment. Follow these steps prevent illness when handling any livestock, like dairy bull calves:
· Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching livestock, equipment for animals, or anything in the area where animals live and roam.
o This is especially important to do before preparing or consuming food or drink for yourself or others.
o Adults should supervise hand washing for young children.
o Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available right away.
· Use dedicated shoes, work gloves, and clothing that you only use when working with livestock. Keep these items outside of your home.
o Do not eat or drink in the areas where livestock live and roam.
o Do not allow toys, pacifiers, spill-proof cups, baby bottles, strollers, or similar items in livestock areas.
o Wash hands after removing any clothes and shoes you wore while working with livestock.
· Work with your veterinarian to keep your livestock healthy.
o If you think your livestock are sick, talk to your veterinarian as soon as possible and take extra care to wash your hands after working with the animals and use separate clothes when caring for them.
o Children, adults over age 65, and people with compromised immune systems should limit their contact with sick animals.