Stop kissing your chickens! It could be making you sick.
Since the boom in the local foods movement, experts at the centers for disease control and prevention have noticed a spike in Salmonella.
According to NBC News, it seems more people are getting sick from their backyard chickens, and it may be because they are getting too friendly with their flock.
Chickens are not only a source of fresh eggs for families, but they may also be a source of illness.
CDC Zoonotic Disease Expert Dr. Casey Behrvesh says, “People just don’t know that healthy chickens, ducks and other poultry carry germs like Salmonella.”
Over the past 20 years, more than two thousand cases of Salmonella have been linked to live poultry.
On Thursday, the CDC announced an investigation into an outbreak caused by contact with chicks supplied by Mt. Healthy Hatcheries in Ohio.
So far more than 60 people in 23 states have fallen ill, and a third were hospitalized.
The true number of people who have fallen ill is likely significantly higher.
Behravesh says, “For every single case of Salmonella infection that’s reported to public health officials — CDC estimates there’s as many as 29 others out there.”
Cases often spike after Easter, when parents order chicks as gifts for their young children.
Most illnesses happen when chicken owners treat their birds like family by bringing them into their homes.
Research shows more than one in ten owners kiss their birds.
Behravesh said, “Don’t kiss the bird! You can show your affections in other ways with a simple pet or something like that.”
Experts say there is no need to limit your interactions with chickens, but be sure to wash your hands afterwards.