Officials at the Michigan departments of Agriculture and Rural Development and Health and Human Services are warning parents about the potential for baby poultry to carry Salmonella; a common bacteria found in the droppings of poultry which can cause illness in people.
“Washing your hands before and after handling chicks and other poultry is not only important for your bird’s health, it protects both you and your family from the risk of Salmonella,” said MDARD State Veterinarian Dr. James Averill. “Even birds appearing healthy can carry bacteria which can make people sick.”
“People enjoy raising baby chicks and having fresh eggs from their own birds,” said Eden Wells, MDHHS Chief Medical Executive. “Though keeping chickens can be fun and educational, poultry owners should be aware that chickens and other birds can carry germs and other viruses that can impact human health.”
Salmonella can cause diarrhea, vomiting, fever and/or abdominal cramps lasting four to seven days or more.
People should always assume baby chicks carry Salmonella and should follow these recommendations to protect themselves and others:
Children younger than five-years-of-age, older adults or people with weak immune systems should not handle or touch chicks, ducklings or other poultry because they are more likely to become severely ill.
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching the birds or anything in their environment. Adults should supervise hand washing for young children.
Use hand sanitizer until you can wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
Always keep poultry away from areas where food or drink is prepared, served or stored, such as kitchens or outdoor patios.
Do not kiss the chicks.
Do not touch your mouth, smoke, eat, or drink after handling poultry.
Frequently clean all equipment such as cages, feed, water containers and other materials associated with raising or caring for poultry.
For more information, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/features/salmonellababybirds/