No More Fowl Love: Stop Kissing Chickens, They Can Give Salmonella, CDC Warns

Sep 16, 2016 05:42 AM EDT

If you or your children have a habit of kissing your pet chickens, it may be best to refrain from the fowl affection. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that kissing chickens can give you salmonella infection.

In the midst of the trend of raising backyard chickens, a new CDC study revealed an "emerging public health trend" with salmonella outbreaks. Data showed that poultry-keepers who keep chickens as pets have the tendency to smooch their fowl and allow them into their homes as they do with domesticated pets, like dogs and cats.

Salmonella comes from the bacteria from animal intestines and transmitted through food or water that are contaminated with salmonella-infested feces. Recent salmonella outbreaks in the United States linked the chickens as a source, as per a report from the Washington Post.

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The CDC study revealed that 53 salmonella outbreaks linked to live poultry gave sickness to nearly 2,700 people. Five deaths were recorded from 1990 to 2014.

Six in 10 patients said they had been exposed to baby chicks, with 74 percent saying the exposure happened in their own houses, usually snuggling or kissing chickens that are kept in areas such as the living room, kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom.

While there might be various reasons as to keeping chickens in the house, the authors of the study were clear in saying that poultry should not be allowed inside the house.

"Poultry are acquiring a new position in many households--instead of being treated as production animals, they are increasingly being considered household pets," the study said, as per United Press International.

While they did not warn against having backyard coops, they advised that children should regularly wash their hands as they are often the victims of salmonella infection.

According to CDC, an estimated 1.2 million illnesses and nearly 450 deaths happen annually in the U.S. due to non-typhoidal salmonella. People who are infected develop fever, abdominal cramps and diarrhea between 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts around 4 days to a week.

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