Chicks are Cute, but Risky!
By Jennifer Mitchell, MPH, CHES, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Chicks and other live poultry can be cute, but they can also carry germs that can make you seriously sick. Last year alone, eight multistate outbreaks caused nearly 500 people to get sick from touching or handling these birds, more than 90 people went to the hospital, and there were four deaths.
It’s important to know that live poultry can look healthy but still carry germs, such as Salmonella, which can spread to people. These germs can mean more than just feeling bad —they can mean missed days at work, having to go to the doctor or hospital , or even worse.
It’s also important to know that there are things you can do to protect yourself and your family.
What can I do to not get sick?
These simple steps will help protect yourself and others from getting sick:
- Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching live poultry or anything in the area where they live and roam. Adults should supervise hand washing for young children.
- Clean any equipment or materials associated with raising or caring for live poultry outside the house, such as cages or feed or water containers.
- Never bring live poultry inside the house, in bathrooms, or especially in areas where food or drink is prepared, served, or stored, such as kitchens, or outdoor patios.
Who is especially at risk for getting sick from Salmonella?
Children, older adults, and those with weakened immune systems are more likely than others to develop severe illness. Children can be exposed to germs by holding, cuddling, or kissing the birds and by touching things where the bird lives, such as cages or feed and water bowls. Young children are especially at risk for illness because their immune systems are still developing and because they are more likely than others to put their fingers or other items into their mouths.
For more information, please visit: Risk of Human Salmonella Infections from Live Baby Poultry