Title: Finding Ways to Prevent Salmonella Infections involving Birds and People: An Exploratory Assessment of Behavior, Microbiology, and Climactic Factors
Proposal submitted in response to 2021 UGA Presidential Interdisciplinary Seed Grant Program
Total submitted: $137,958
Co-PIs: Sonia Hernandez (UGA Warnell School of Forestry and College of Vet Med), Erin Lipp (Environmental Health Science in UGA College of Public Health, with courtesy appointments in Microbiology, Ecology, and Marine Science), Glen Nowak, Susan Sanchez (Professor of Infectious diseases at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine and the lead on the campus’s One Health Initiative), Nikki Shariat (assistant professor, Department of Population Health, with courtesy appointments in Microbiology and the Center for Food Safety), and Marshall Shepherd (Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor of Geography and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Georgia.
Project Summary: This project will investigate a variety of climatic and environmental factors as well as the knowledge, beliefs and behaviors of individuals who maintain backyard bird feeders to advance the understanding of the epidemiology of both bird and bird-associated human salmonellosis cases. Goals are to determine how long Salmonella persists on feeders, whether an antimicrobial coating on feeders impacts Salmonella infectiousness, assess for potential avian Salmonella reservoirs and other key epidemiological details of the backyard feeder-bird-Salmonella system and learn how these details relate to the human incidence of salmonellosis while analyzing the use and management of bird feeders. Importantly, this project will also include communication-related research designed to increase the understanding of individuals who maintain backyard feeders to identify communication needs and factors that inform efforts to prevent bird-to-human Salmonella transmission.