The Centers for Disease Control is warning chicken owners not to kiss or snuggle their backyard pets amid a Salmonella outbreak.
The outbreak has already infected more than 50 people in 21 states.
In a statement, the agency said that it is investigating outbreaks, with evidence suggesting that ducklings, chickens and other backyard poultry are the likely sources of infections.
“CDC and public health officials in several states are investigating multistate outbreaks of Salmonella Braenderup and Salmonella Montevideo infections linked to contact with backyard poultry,” the CDC said in a statement.
52 people were infected and five have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
People can contract infections from touching backyard poultry. Birds carrying Salmonella bacteria may appear healthy and show no symptoms of illness.
The CDC recommends chicken owners to always wash hands with soap and water after touching anything in the area where animals roam and live.
Do not drink or eat where poultry liveand roam. Do not snuggle or kiss backyard poultry and don’t let the animals inside the house, especially in areas where drink or food is prepared, stored or served.
Adults over 65, children less than 5, and people with compromised immune systems should not touch or handle ducklings, chicks or other poultry.
People infected with Salmonella may develop fever, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. Most people recover without treatment but the illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days.
In some cases, the infection may spread to the bloodstream and other areas of the body.
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