June 13, 2022 -- “Don’t kiss or snuggle backyard poultry.”

This is the clear warning the CDC issued late last week as salmonella outbreaks linked to backyard chickens have reportedly sickened over 200 people in at least 38 states. Dozens of hospitalizations and one death have been recorded so far this year.

Salmonella is commonly associated with contaminated or raw foods, but it can also be contracted from pets, including chickens, even when they appear healthy. According to the CDC, chickens, ducks, and other poultry can harbor salmonella and campylobacter bacteria in their intestines that can be passed on to humans when they are kissed, snuggled, or touched and through contact with their droppings. Symptoms, including stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, and chills,

typically begin within 8-72 hours of infection and can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.

To avoid salmonella infection, the CDC advises chicken owners to wash their hands immediately after contact, keep flock supplies out of the house, keep children under 5 away from the animals, and practice safe egg handling such as cleaning eggs with sandpaper or cloth.

In 2021, 1,135 people were sickened from backyard poultry in the U.S., according to CDC health officials. As the popularity of keeping backyard chickens has increased, especially within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, the agency said it wants to raise awareness to the rising number of salmonella cases.

The message from the CDC is straightforward: “You can get sick from touching your backyard poultry or anything in their environment, and then touching your mouth or food.”

Complete information on the investigation and its progression is available on the CDC website, as well as more tips for how to stay healthy around your lovable chicks.

Show Sources

Texas A&M Today: “Can You Get Salmonella From Backyard Chickens?”

CDC: “Salmonella Outbreaks Linked to Backyard Poultry.”

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