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4 Human Diseases Caused By Chickens



Feature | Red and white rooster in fields | Human Diseases Caused By Chickens

How do people get diseases caused by chickens? Read and learn what precautionary measures to take!

RELATED: Top 5 Diseases During SHTF

In this article:

  1. Diseases Caused by Backyard Chickens
    1. Salmonella
      1. How People Get Salmonella Germs
    2. Urinary Tract Infection
      1. Transmission of Enterococcus Faecalis to Humans
    3. Histoplasmosis
    4. Campylobacter Infection
      1. Protection Against Campylobacter

Diseases Caused by Chickens: Get to Know Them

Diseases Caused by Backyard Chickens

Jordan Walker is a pet lover who does not limit himself to learning about how to connect with pets. He also makes it a point to inform others about pet-related illnesses. In this post, the curator of Coops and Cages writes about four diseases spread by chickens.

1. Salmonella

Brown chicken | Human Diseases Caused By Chickens

Salmonella is a germ that avian life usually carry. Poultry domesticated birds like turkeys and chickens — whether commercial farm chickens, backyard chickens, or organically-raised chickens — could all carry Salmonella.

This bacterium does not cause any illnesses on the avian carrier, but it has harmful effects on humans. Just like the effects of a virus, this germ can be contracted by coming into contact with chickens and their immediate environment.

How People Get Salmonella Germs

The Salmonella germs can attach to anything that the chickens touch. In turn, the germs cling on to people that get close (just like what parasites do to the body). These people are likely to become infected if they place their hands close to their mouths.

Among the effects of this germ to the body includes diarrhea and intense weakening. That’s why, after touching or getting anywhere near the chickens, it is advisable that you should immediately wash and scrub your hands vigorously.

That would lessen the chances of you getting sick because of Salmonella.

2. Urinary Tract Infection

Group of chickens | Human Diseases Caused By Chickens
As if humans weren’t already susceptible to urinary tract infection or UTI, animals like birds, turkeys, and chickens have to get into the picture too. It has been found out that a bacterium found in the chickens’ intestines can be transmitted to humans.

Enterococcus faecalis is the bacteria that cause UTI. And this is why some cases of UTI are considerably from an infectious chicken disease.

Transmission of Enterococcus Faecalis to Humans

Just like the Salmonella, E. faecalis is thought to be transmitted to humans by way of the bird or chicken feces. The bacterium would then spread in the surroundings, even into the water.

And any human that comes into contact directly with the poultry or with the dirt would become a likely victim. If no proper preventative steps are taken, a person carrying the bacteria on their hands could handle food that would then become contaminated, and from which the next unwary victim could develop UTI.

That’s why the next time you want to drink from an outdoor water source, you should be careful.

RELATED: Disease Outbreaks: History’s Lessons On Surviving Mass Infections

3. Histoplasmosis

Chicken on top of the table near house | Human Diseases Caused By Chickens
Histoplasmosis is a disease caused by Histoplasma capsulatum. This fungus usually affects the lungs, but symptoms can also occur in other parts of the body.

Vulnerable parts include the eyes, skin, adrenal glands, nervous system, and liver. H. capsulatum can live happily in moist places, but will most likely be present in environments where poultry animals are kept, particularly their coops.

This specific fungus comes also from the droppings of chicken. They populate the air as spores and enter the human body through the respiratory system.

At first, the symptoms it causes are not severe but in actuality, histoplasmosis is acute. To give you an idea of how bad it is, histoplasmosis is very similar to tuberculosis.

Tuberculosis Definition: Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection in the lungs that leads to the growth of nodules in the lung tissues. This condition is contagious.

To prevent infection, before you go anywhere near poultry animals, you have to make sure you are wearing protective gear, especially face masks. Another thing you can do is to clean your chickens’ coops regularly.

4. Campylobacter Infection

Campylobacter has effects on humans similar to those of Salmonella. Infected humans would suffer severe symptoms like diarrhea, abdominal cramps, vomiting, and fever.

Exposure to them could also cause lessened immunity which could lead to more complications.

As with Salmonella, Campylobacter is abundant in bird or chicken droppings. Humans may get this bacteria by eating infected bird meat, chicken meat, or eggs. Cooking the meat or eggs thoroughly will help kill the bacteria.

Protection Against Campylobacter

To protect yourself against these infections, you have to make sure you cook your chickens to a crisp first. Also, if you own backyard chickens, make sure to always prepare some antibiotics as part of your first aid kit at home.

And while the above-listed diseases are most common in domestic or commercial farm settings, you must not forget there are other avian lifeforms that carry these. For example, in the wild, bats and other types of birds, too, can transmit similar diseases to humans.

You may unknowingly inhale infected air or come in contact with something that has the bacteria. The effects of the various bacteria mentioned are similar to those of virus or parasites.

So it’s best to be on your guard against these infectious diseases especially when you’re enjoying the outdoors. There are no vaccines available to protect you from these diseases, but antibiotics might help relieve the pain or other effects the identified bacteria will cause the body.


Learn more about the Salmonella bacteria in this video by TopTipss:

Don’t let these dangers deter you from raising poultry birds like chickens. A dedicated chicken farmer who raises healthy birds and follows the right safety protocol will not have to worry about contamination. Healthy chickens start with healthy coops.

Do you know other diseases caused by chickens? Share your insights with us in the comments sections below!


Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer

Human Diseases Caused By Chickens |

Editor’s Note: This post was first published in July 2016 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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  1. Donna Pezzimenti

    September 23, 2017 at 10:06 PM

    I i i got a bone. Infection that made. A hole in my ankle and a bone infection in my ankle . Cant clear the infection up its been a year my dog got repeated ear infections from backyard chickens it was a nightmare living with backyard chickens . My lanlord had them illegally one chicken died .

  2. Donna Pezzimenti

    September 23, 2017 at 10:07 PM

    Backyard chickens also bought rats on the property raccoons .

    • Darla Kane

      June 4, 2018 at 8:59 PM

      Jesus!! Were you living INSIDE A CHICKEN BARN???

  3. Donna Pezzimenti

    September 23, 2017 at 10:08 PM

    I have to have my ankle remove because of the infection from backyard chickens

  4. Donna Pezzimenti

    September 23, 2017 at 10:10 PM

    People should not get backyard chickens unless they know howvto care for them they gave disesases which harm humans and dogs i knew someone that went blind from chickens

  5. Darla Kane

    June 4, 2018 at 8:57 PM

    wooooe there Nelly!! WTF?? Why are these poor chickens getting a bad rap here?? I currently have 3 roosters, 3 hens and 10 pullets in the brooder waiting to get outside. I’m looking on here because I have a “cold” that just won’t go away. As much chicken poo and feather dander as I’ve inhaled, I’m sure the chickies aren’t helping, but I would never say that it is THEIR FAULT! I love my chickens and the fresh eggs. I’m just a little old lady with cats, dogs and chickens. The chickens are very entertaining. Why are there “chicken haters” out there??

    • Divine

      June 11, 2018 at 12:56 AM

      I can’t comment for anyone but myself. But I’ve read so much about ways in which we can get sick from animals. Like the toxoplasmosis from kitties. (not hating, in fact I love em!) but with our outside cats, after reading up about that. I now wear shoes outside. (Also read some other nightmare fuel articles about walking barefoot. Which I miss doing. But hey, pros & cons.) Though with the right precautions, all *should be safe. I hope you feel well in regards to your cold.

      Love, peace & chicken grease!

      • Anonymous

        August 25, 2018 at 9:36 PM

        I wonder how many animals get sick from people.

  6. Lorraine harris 1945

    June 10, 2018 at 11:40 AM

    I was gardening an sweating using chic
    .i think it’s a fungus .
    .hmanure wiped neck with gloves .6mths a go. Have embatago like saws now .had 7 lots of antibiotics 3 swabs demanded biopsy. Massive infections .not responding to meds live bugs under my skin

  7. penelope

    August 19, 2018 at 2:59 PM

    I am sure she of these cases happen but Not knowing the conditions of the chicken living conditions and raising chickens for 0verr 17 yrs without a problem makes me wonder how often these things occur and if they could have been avoided by better conditions where the chickens were raised

  8. Someone

    August 20, 2018 at 9:53 PM


    • Anonymous

      January 12, 2019 at 8:17 PM


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  14. Aveteran2

    March 15, 2019 at 12:46 PM

    I was brought up on an Ohio farm. We raised, from chicks, 2000+ laying hens from brooder houses to enclosed hen house. They were kept for one year then sold off to the soup factory. I, nor my family ever got sick from these pesky birds. I got my share of peck marks retrieving their eggs though. Now we did clean the buildings every year and replaced the bedding material (crushed corn cops) prior to introducing the new occupants. We also had raccoon, birds of prey and opossum hanging around looking for a meal too. Clean the slaughtered birds, cook them thoroughly and clean up you yard. Chickens are not pets.

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  16. Anonymous

    August 21, 2019 at 8:12 AM

    I’m wondering if I have histoplasmosis. I’ve had a constant headache for 2 years now, and the only thing different that I can remember at the time it started was that I was taking care of my sister’s chickens. Is it possible that a headache would be the only symptom? I also have had swollen lymph nodes off and on…they were swollen the night before the headache started. I have asthma, but that started before this happened.

    • robin

      October 10, 2019 at 4:12 AM

      Jesus Christ, I have had chickens for 10 years,not terribly careful about anything including washing my hands. I eat fresh egg every day7, I’m healthy as a horse, or a chicken.

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