Public/Global Health

CDC urges against kissing, snuggling poultry in salmonella warning

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an advisory on Thursday warning people against getting too close to backyard poultry, citing concerns that the chickens may be spreading salmonella.

In an investigation notice, the CDC noted that backyard poultry owners should take precautionary measures when handling their animals after 163 confirmed cases of salmonella were reported in 43 states.

“Don’t kiss or snuggle backyard poultry, and don’t eat or drink around them,” the CDC wrote. “This can spread Salmonella germs to your mouth and make you sick.”

According to the CDC, no one has died from the reported salmonella cases, and children under 5 made up one-third of the cases that have been recorded.

More cases could go unreported, the CDC noted, as few people are tested for the bacterial infection that can cause fever, stomach cramps and diarrhea.

The public health agency advised backyard poultry owners to frequently wash their hands after handling poultry, carefully handle eggs, and supervise children around the poultry. 

“Don’t let children younger than 5 years touch chicks, ducklings, or other backyard poultry. Young children are more likely to get sick from germs like Salmonella,” the CDC wrote.

The advice comes after a year of multiple salmonella outbreaks that were found to be connected to interactions with backyard poultry.

“The number of illnesses reported [in 2020] was higher than the number reported during any of the past years’ outbreaks linked to backyard flocks,” the CDC wrote.


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