Tags: kissing | chickens | salmonella | cdc

Kissing-Chickens Salmonella Worries Ever-Watchful CDC

Image: Kissing-Chickens Salmonella Worries Ever-Watchful CDC

A rise in chickens being kept as backyard pets has led to more cases of Salmonella poisoning, leading the CDC to warn: "Don't kiss chickens." (Dreamstime)

By    |   Friday, 16 Sep 2016 08:36 AM

Kissing chickens can lead to salmonella exposure, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday in a study pointing to an increase in bacteria outbreak with more people keeping the animal as pets.

Chickens as backyard pets have supplied owners with fresh eggs while their care has been educational for children, according to the Washington Post. But the trend has led to 43 "live poultry-associated salmonellosis" outbreaks from 1990 to 2014, leading to 2,630 illnesses, 387 people being hospitalized and five deaths, according to the CDC study.

"Chick and duckling exposure were reported by 85 percent and 38 percent of case-patients, respectively," stated the CDC study's abstract. "High-risk practices included keeping poultry inside households (46 percent of case-patients) and kissing birds (13 percent). Comprehensive One Health strategies are needed to prevent illnesses associated with live poultry."

The Washington Post reported that the study's authors believed that some people might bring chicks inside in the winter but stressed that "poultry should never be allowed inside the house."

Salmonella is a zoonotic bacteria found in the intestinal tract of many animals, such as cattle, pigs, horses, other mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and poultry, according to the CDC. Annually, Nontyphoidal salmonellosis causes an estimated 1.2 million illnesses, 23,000 hospitalizations, and 450 deaths in the United States, per the agency.

The Humane Society of the United States has been divided on the issue of chickens as pets, saying that it supports efforts to reduce the suffering of the animals, but owners should follow strict care guidelines, The Huffington Post reported.

"Chickens are energetic, inquisitive, and friendly animals that are a joy to watch, but the decision to keep them should not be made lightly," the Humane Society wrote on its website. "Chickens require dedicated, consistent care and there are important issues to consider before acquiring a backyard flock.

"Many municipalities prohibit residents from having backyard chickens. Be sure to contact local authorities (such as your local animal control or zoning/planning departments) to ensure such animals are legal before you bring any chickens home," stated the Humane Society.

The Washington Post wrote that chicken owners should consistently wash their hands after handling the birds and that health care workers, veterinarians, pediatricians, hatcheries, feed stores should join in sharing information about the risk of raising chickens.

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Kissing chickens can lead to salmonella exposure, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday in a study pointing to an increase in bacteria outbreak with more people keeping the animal as pets.
kissing, chickens, salmonella, cdc
384
2016-36-16
Friday, 16 Sep 2016 08:36 AM
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