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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU Finds Urban Health Regulations Needed on Backyard Chicken Coops

With backyard poultry ownership in urban areas of the U.S. increasing in recent decades, cities should adopt policies to reduce the risk of infectious disease from contact with live chickens, according to a publication led by a Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researcher.

Chickens can carry bacteria such as Salmonella and viral infections such as avian influenza, and urban regulation of backyard poultry ownership can help to reduce the risk of human infection, the researchers say in an article in the journal Public Health Reports.

Dr. Jessica Leibler, assistant professor of environmental health, and colleagues say local ordinances should incorporate specifications on a range of health measures, including manure management, slaughter and disposal of sick poultry, veterinary care, consumer education, and registration of households with poultry.

“The reintegration of live poultry into the urban environment poses risks to human health due to zoonotic disease transmission from poultry to humans,” the authors said. “Noncommercial contact with poultry has been associated with numerous multistate Salmonella outbreaks in recent years and poses risks for transmission of other bacterial and viral pathogens.”

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