Back away from that chicken! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning everyone with backyard chickens of a recent outbreak of salmonella. Apparently, it is not healthy to cuddle, kiss, or even eat with your chicken.
The CDC reports, a total of 1003 people infected with the outbreak strains of salmonella have been reported from 49 states. Of those, at least 175 (29 percent) have been hospitalized. Unfortunately, two deaths have been reported: one from Texas and one from Ohio. Those who Of 850 ill people with age information available, 192 (23 percent) are children younger than 5 years.
Follow these tips to stay healthy with your backyard flock:
- Always wash your hands with soap and water right after touching backyard poultry or anything in the area where they live and roam.
- Adults should supervise handwashing by young children.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not readily available.
- Don’t let backyard poultry inside the house, especially in areas where food or drink is prepared, served, or stored.
- Set aside a pair of shoes to wear while taking care of poultry and keep those shoes outside of the house.
- Children younger than 5, adults aged 65 and older, and people who have health problems or take medicines that lower the body’s ability to fight germs and sickness shouldn’t handle or touch chicks, ducklings, or other poultry.
- Don’t eat or drink where poultry live or roam.
- Don’t kiss backyard poultry or snuggle them and then touch your face or mouth.
- Stay outdoors when cleaning any equipment or materials used to raise or care for poultry, such as cages, or feed or water containers.
You may be thinking that these actions don’t apply to you and your chickens because they are happy and healthy. However, the CDC says backyard poultry can carry Salmonella bacteria but appear healthy, clean, and show no signs of illness.
No matter how cute they are in the farm store or in your backyard, just give those cute, cuddly chickens some space.