Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Florida white ibis will probably give you salmonella

Posted By on Thu, Dec 15, 2016 at 1:51 PM

  • Photo via mbarrison/Flickr
More than likely you've encountered a white ibis, a derpy little bird often seen darting around downtown Orlando, well don't get too close because it's probably riddled with salmonella.

According to a recent study funded by the National Institute of Health, the Florida white ibis may be playing a large role in the yearly average of 5,000-6,000 reported salmonella cases in the U.S.

How? Well, as always, bird poop.

The study suggests that factors like loss of habitat and getting used to the taste of bread, have resulted in white ibises spending more time in urban golf courses, parks and other heavily populated areas. Researchers believe that ibises pick up salmonella bacteria from soil, water, or other bird poop while foraging, and then pass it on to people and their young.

After testing ibis feces in both urban areas and at nesting sites in the wetlands, veterinarian and ecologist Sonia Hernandez , along with her colleagues, discovered that 13 percent of adult birds and 35 percent of nestlings had salmonella.

"We found that the strains of salmonella bacteria white ibises are infected with are the same ones people get sick from, especially in Florida," said Hernandez to the National Science Foundation.

They also found that a third of the identified salmonella strains were in the top 20 of concern for humans and that cases were actually higher in urban ibises, than those living in the wetlands.

So, basically stop feeding these birds Sun Chips.

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