Salmonellosis is a serious illness that can be transmitted to people through contact with chicks and other baby poultry purchased as pets. During 2006, state health departments notified CDC of three outbreaks of Salmonella species infections in persons who had been in contact with baby poultry purchased at agricultural feed stores.
For decades, baby poultry, particularly chicks and ducklings, have been known to be a source of salmonellosis. Recently the source of birds associated with salmonellosis outbreaks been traced back to a hatchery.
Investigations of these outbreaks show that many persons who purchase baby poultry remain unaware that handling these birds puts persons at risk for salmonellosis, especially children.
During springtime and the Easter season it is important to remember that children are more susceptible to infection from baby chicks and young ducklings because they are more likely than others to put their fingers into their mouths and because their immune systems are still developing.
Persons should be educated on how to avoid contact with bird feces and should wash their hands with soap and warm water after handling baby poultry or anything that has been in contact with them. Additionally, children younger than five years of age should not be allowed to handle baby chicks or other baby birds.
For more information, visit www.cdc.gov.