In the latter part of the summer of 2019, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an alarming advisory. The CDC announced that a strain of drug-resistant salmonella bacteria was identified as infecting people in the United States. At the time of the announcement, over 200 people in the United States were diagnosed as having drug-resistant salmonella infections. Of that number, 60 people had been hospitalized. Two individuals had died from their infections. This type of salmonella infection has been identified in 32 states so far. With this information in hand, you may now have very real concerns about what you need to do to protect your family against drug-resistant salmonella.
Food Preparation and Drug-Resistant Salmonella
Thus far the CDC has identified two major food items in which drug-resistant salmonella bacteria has been found:
- Soft cheese (from Mexico)
- Beef (from the United States)
The CDC recommends at this time that people avoid soft cheese, not only from Mexico but elsewhere. The recommendation is made because soft cheese can be made from unpasteurized milk. If confirmation can be made that the milk is pasteurized, the risk the soft cheese contains drug-resistant salmonella bacteria is reduced.
When it comes to beef, the CDC makes the following recommendations:
- Cook steaks and roast to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing the meat to rest for three minutes after cooking
- Cook ground beef to 160 degrees Fahrenheit
You need to bear in mind that the odds of drug-resistant salmonella bacteria remaining constrained to only soft cheese from Mexico and U.S. beef is slim to none. The reality is that odds are high that drug-resistant salmonella bacteria are already present in other foodstuffs. In this regard, there likely are individuals who’ve taken ill in such a manner, their situations not reported to the CDC for one reason or another.
Drug-Resistant Salmonella and Rodent Droppings
Rodent droppings are notorious for carrying salmonella bacteria. Thus far, the CDC hasn’t released any specific information about whether and how rodent droppings have played a role in contaminating soft cheese and beef.
The reality is that a considerable percentage of salmonella infections in humans can be traced to the consumption of food items that were contaminated by rodent feces or even urine. Restaurants consider this chain of infection risk one of the major problems they face when it comes to overall food safety,
Of course, the only way you can completely avoid a salmonella infection from a restaurant setting is to never eat out. With that recognized, there are some practical steps you can take as a consumer when it comes to dining in a restaurant. For example, you can select menu items that by definition will be thoroughly cooked. In this regard, if you order a steak, order it on the well-done side of the spectrum and not otherwise.
You also need to be aggressive in protecting yourself against exposure to rodent droppings in your residence (or business). The best defense against exposure to rodent droppings is to prevent a mouse or rat infestation in the first instance. In this regard, there are some specific steps you can take right now to enhance your home’s defenses against rodents:
- Plug any holes in on the exterior of your residence (cement being the best material to keep rodents out)
- Use garbage cans (inside and outside) that seal tightly
- Keep food stored in durable containers that cannot be easily penetrated by rodent teeth
- Eliminate clutter in and around your home, including in the garage, basement, and attic
- Eliminate bushes, shrubs, and other plants from being directly against the exterior wall of your home
- Keep firewood away from directly against your home
- Eliminate water puddles and drips from inside and outside your home
- Invest in a cat
Once you take affirmative steps to keep rodents out of your home, you need to make regular inspections of your property to see if any signs of mice or rats exist. These signs include:
- Gnaw marks
- Scratch or claw marks
- Greasy trails
- Rodent droppings
After sunset, you may also hear squealing, scratching, and gnawing sounds.
If you do find you have a rodent infestation, you must take aggressive steps to eliminate the animals from your home. You very well may need to call in a professional to eliminate or exterminate rodents.
Once a rodent infestation is eradicated, you still face the prospect of rodent dropping cleanup and eliminating other waste left behind by these animals. As is the case with eliminating rodents in the first place, due to the inherent dangers of rodent droppings, coupled with the fact that rodent droppings can end up in locations in your home that are difficult for you to reach (throughout the HCAV system), you my want to retain the services of a rodent dropping cleanup professional.