They are cute and cuddly, but please don’t kiss ’em.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating nearly 100 Salmonella infections across 28 states, including Mississippi, from contact with chickens, ducks, and other poultry in backyard flocks. About 30% of sick people are under age 5.
There are currently four cases in the magnolia state.
According to the CDC, you can get sick with a Salmonella infection from touching backyard poultry or their environment. These birds can carry Salmonella bacteria even if they look healthy and clean and show no signs of illness.
Follow these tips to stay healthy with your backyard flock:
Wash your hands.
- Always wash your hands with soap and water right after touching backyard poultry, their eggs, or anything in the area where they live and roam.
- Adults should supervise handwashing by young children.
- Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available.
Be safe around poultry.
- Don’t kiss backyard poultry or snuggle them and then touch your face or mouth.
- Don’t let backyard poultry inside the house, especially in areas where food or drink is prepared, served, or stored.
- Set aside a pair of shoes to wear while taking care of poultry and keep those shoes outside of the house.
- Don’t eat or drink where poultry live or roam.
- Stay outdoors when cleaning any equipment or materials used to raise or care for poultry, such as cages and containers for feed or water.
Supervise kids around poultry.
- Always supervise children around poultry and while they wash their hands afterward.
- Children younger than 5 years of age shouldn’t handle or touch chicks, ducklings, or other poultry. Young children are more likely to get sick from germs like Salmonella.
Handle eggs safely.
- Collect eggs often. Eggs that sit in the nest can become dirty or break.
- Throw away cracked eggs. Germs on the shell can more easily enter the egg through a cracked shell.
- Eggs with dirt and debris can be cleaned carefully with fine sandpaper, a brush, or a cloth.
- Don’t wash warm, fresh eggs because colder water can pull germs into the egg.
- Refrigerate eggs after collection to maintain freshness and slow germ growth.
- Cook eggs until both the yolk and white are firm. Egg dishes should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C) or hotter. Raw and undercooked eggs may contain Salmonella bacteria that can make you sick.
Click here for more information on the investigation of the multi-state outbreak and tips for prevention.