N.D. (Alysia Huck)– The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) warns of the
potential danger to people who come into contact with live poultry,
especially chicks, ducklings and other baby birds. Contact with live
poultry or their environments can be a source of human bacterial
infections. Multistate outbreaks of salmonellosis, an illness caused
by Salmonella bacteria,
have occurred every year for the past five years.
this time of year, baby poultry are often displayed in stores or
given as gifts,” said Michelle Feist, epidemiologist with the
NDDoH. “People can be exposed to Salmonella
holding, cuddling, or kissing baby birds or by touching areas where
the birds live or roam.”
can get sick from Salmonella.
Young children are especially at risk of salmonellosis because their
immune systems are still developing and they are more likely to put
their fingers, hands or other items into their mouths. In 2016, there
were five cases of Salmonella
in North Dakota associated with a multistate outbreak of
salmonellosis linked to live poultry. Of those five cases, one was
under the age of five.
if chicks and ducklings appear healthy, they may have Salmonella
their droppings or on their bodies,” said Feist. “A bird that
looks clean can still have germs on its feathers, beak and feet that
can make a person sick.”
risk of acquiring Salmonella
from baby poultry can be reduced by following these guidelines:
wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water immediately after
touching live poultry or anything in the area where they live and
roam. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available.
not allow children younger than five years of age, older adults or
individuals with weakened immune systems to handle or touch live
not snuggle or kiss the birds, touch your mouth or eat or drink
around live poultry.
not allow live poultry inside the house or in areas where food or
drinks are prepared, served, or stored.
not give live baby poultry as gifts to young children.
of infection with Salmonella can
include diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever, which usually begin
within eight to 72 hours after exposure. The illness typically lasts
four to seven days, and most healthy people recover without
antibiotic treatment. Sometimes the infection can spread to other
parts of the body, leading to severe and potentially life-threatening
illness. Infants, young children, the elderly, and those who have
impaired immune systems are at greater risk for severe Salmonella
more information, call Michelle Feist, NDDoH Division of Disease
Control, at 701.328.2378 or visit www.ndhealth.gov/disease/GI/