CDC warns don’t kiss, snuggle backyard chickens, ducks after salmonella outbreak

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are warning owners of backyard poultry: don’t kiss or snuggle the birds then touch your face or mouth.

The odd warning by the CDC was issued after an outbreak of salmonella is affecting nearly a thousand people across the country. Officials said there are three strains of the infection circulating across 48 states.

So far one person has died and more than 150 have been hospitalized.

A majority of those sickened said they had contact with chicks and ducklings, with many living in backyards. The birds were purchased from agricultural stores, websites and hatcheries.

Due to the potential risk carried by poultry, the CDC recommends:

  • Don’t kiss or snuggle poultry then touch your face or mouth.
  • Don’t let the animals in the house, especially where food or drink is prepared, served or stored.
  • Use one pair of shoes when taking care of the animals, and leave the footwear outside.
  • Don’t eat or drink where the birds live or roam.
  • Clean any equipment or materials used to care for the poultry outside.

Children can be susceptible to developing an illness from salmonella. All children should be supervised around poultry and should wash their hands. Kids under the age of 5 shouldn’t handle or touch chicks, ducklings or other poultry.

Click here for more recommendations from the CDC on keeping backyard poultry.

Symptoms of salmonella infection include diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps from 6 hours to 6 days after exposure to the bacteria. Symptoms usually last four to seven days, but some people may have a severe illness that they have to be hospitalized.