Beware: Kissing a chicken could make you sick!
( Uhuh, as if someone would do so? Seriously guys, why did you feel the need to issue this warning in the first place? )
It is because a number of people around the United States have become sick withSalmonella after bringing backyard chickens indoors, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And many of those people became ill from close encounters with their feathery friends, whether from having the birds in their homes, or nuzzling with them.
According to CDC, at least 181 people have come down with Salmonella during 2015, in four separate outbreaks spanning 40 states. Of the ill people who researchers reached for interviews, 86 percent reported having contact with baby chicks, ducklings or other live poultry. Many of those who had live poultry were keeping the chickens indoors as pets, or cuddling or kissing the animals. The live chicks came from multiple hatcheries in many different states.
Salmonella bacteria can cause diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps anywhere from 12 to 72 hours after exposure. Although most people recover within a week, some may have such severe diarrhea that they must be hospitalized. If the bacterial infection enters the bloodstream, people can die unless they receive prompt treatment with antibiotics,according to the CDC.
These bacteria normally live in the guts of people and other animals, including poultry. Most people get sick by eating foods contaminated with the feces of an infected animal, according to the CDC.
However, ducklings and chicks that harbor Salmonella in their guts may wind up with the bacteria all over, covering everything from their downy coats to their environment. As a result, it’s easy to get the disease simply by handling the creatures, according to the CDC. In the past, small turtles, dry pet food and even pet bearded dragons have been tied toSalmonella outbreaks.
To prevent transmission from live animals, people should avoid keeping their poultry indoors with them. And though baby chicks are pretty adorable, people should contain the urge to nuzzle or kiss the birds.