CDC Warns Against Kissing and Snuggling Chickens After Salmonella Outbreak

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising people with backyard chickens to not kiss and snuggle them amid a salmonella outbreak.


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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising people with backyard chickens to not kiss and snuggle them because said fowl may be connected to a salmonella outbreak. A similar issue with backyard poultry led to a surge in salmonella cases back in 2020, with 1,722 people becoming ill. Out of that previous group, 333 were hospitalized and one died. Additionally, chicken ownership allegedly went up due to pandemic isolation and rising egg prices. 

“Don’t kiss or snuggle backyard poultry, and don’t eat or drink around them. This can spread salmonella germs to your mouth and make you sick,” the public health agency said in a notice sent out on Thursday

An active investigation has learned that 163 people spread throughout 43 states have gotten sick from the bacteria in this newest spread. Nobody has died, but the CDC added that children under the age of five have made up about one-third of the confirmed cases. 

“Backyard poultry can carry Salmonella germs even if they look healthy and clean,” the CDC added. “These germs can easily spread in areas where they live and roam.”

The CDC says symptoms for those who’ve been stricken ill by Salmonella include: diarrhea, fever, stomach cramps and infections.

Usually, symptoms occur within six hours to six days of contracting the bacteria, and from that point, last from four days to a week. There are exceptions to both of those timeframes, as some people may not show symptoms for several weeks. Those who have already gotten sick may also remain ill for several weeks. People at higher risk for serious cases are either under 5, over 65 years old, or have a weakened immune system. 

Ways to avoid and lower your risk if you do have backyard poultry include keeping hand sanitizer in coops, washing your hands, keeping animals and supplies outside, and keeping your eggs clean while also refrigerating them. The agency also warns against allowing kids younger than five to touch chicks/ducklings/etc. because “young children are more likely to get sick from germs like Salmonella.” 

The CDC added the following advice which seems relevant: “Rub off dirt on eggs with fine sandpaper, a brush or a cloth. Don’t wash them because colder water can pull germs into the egg.”

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