Monday, March 26, 2012

That baby chick could make you sick

Children love getting baby chicks at Easter. But public health officials warn people to be careful when handling these pets.

“All poultry, including baby chicks and ducklings, can potentially carry salmonella in their droppings as well as on their feathers, feet and beaks, even when they appear healthy and clean,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Megan Davies. “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.”

Parents should make sure children wash their hands thoroughly with hot water and soap after handling poultry or touching any area where poultry is produced or housed.

Most people become ill from salmonella infection between one to seven days after exposure. Many people recover in a few days without any medical treatment, but some experience life-threatening illnesses, bloody diarrhea, dehydration and other complications.

Symptoms include fever, headache, severe abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

State Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Carl Williams warns that salmonella can also get on cages, coops, hay, plants and soil in the area where the poultry live or roam. Last year, 15 states, including North Carolina, reported 40 documented human cases of salmonella illness associated with baby poultry.

Read more here in English, and here in Spanish.


Anonymous said...

It should be against the law to give helpless baby chicks and ducklings to kids as some sort of "present". The kids get tired of them in a day or so. The animals usually end up dying. Stupid concept.