Health officials warn of salmonella risk as baby chicks, ducklings appear in stores

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Easter is just around the corner, which means you might notice adorable baby chicks and ducklings at some pet shops.

Pet shops often will sell baby chicks and ducklings around the Easter holiday as gifts for children.

However, officials say you should consider whether or not you will be able to care for them when they are older before purchasing these types of animals.

Also, officials with the Oklahoma State Department of Health say cases of salmonella spike this time of year due to the baby chicks and ducklings.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates Salmonella bacteria cause about 1.35 million infections, 26,500 hospitalizations, and 420 deaths in the United States every year.

Young children exposed to baby birds are at greatest risk, accounting for approximately 24 percent of those who became ill with Salmonella in 2020.

Before interacting with baby chicks and ducklings in stores or backyard poultry, OSDH suggests the following safety tips:

  • Never eat, drink or put anything in your mouth while handling poultry.
  • Wash hands with soap and water right after handling any types of birds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 62 percent ethyl alcohol. 
  • Do not wash animal food and water dishes from a backyard poultry flock in the kitchen sink.
  • Do not let children younger than 5 years of age handle or touch chicks, ducklings, or other live poultry without supervision. Children younger than 5 years of age are more likely to get sick from exposure to germs like Salmonella.

Symptoms usually begin six hours to six days after infection and last four to seven days. Most people experience diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps.

However, Salmonella can cause infection and severe disease throughout the body.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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