Why You Really Shouldn’t Hug Chickens

1 minute read

Hugging, kissing or snuggling chickens and other birds could lead to salmonella infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In a report published in June, the CDC links a multi-state outbreak of salmonella to human contact with live poultry that live in backyards. From January to May 2017, 372 people have been infected with salmonella from 47 states. Of those infected, 71 people have been hospitalized; 36% of them are children younger than the age of 5.

According to the CDC’s research, the salmonella outbreaks came after people handled live poultry, such as chicks and ducklings. Of 228 infected people, 190 said they had contact with live poultry about a week before they saw salmonella symptoms.

Now the CDC advises that people always wash their hands after any physical contact with chickens, ducks and other live poultry that are popular backyard pets. Those with weakened immune systems should avoid handling live poultry altogether.

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Write to Mahita Gajanan at mahita.gajanan@time.com