Warning Against Kissing Your Chickens Is No Joke, According to the CDC

Girl with chicken

At first, it almost sounds like a joke. A warning from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about not kissing chickens? Really? Who kisses a chicken? They aren’t exactly my idea of a snuggly animal.


However, even if I’m not in on the trend, there has been a major boom in the number of families keeping backyard chickens in the last 10 years, and this year alone there have been over 180 cases of people contracting salmonella from their backyard poultry.

For many families with backyard chickens, these animals can be seen as loving pets, and children especially might be drawn to hugging and kissing the animals -- something that might put them at risk for the diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps caused by a salmonella infection. These infections can sometimes be serious, resulting in hospitalization or in the most severe cases, death.

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Thus the CDC recommends that chicken owners not allow chickens into the house, and Megin Nichols, a veterinarian with the CDC, tells NPR:

We do not recommend snuggling or kissing the birds or touching them to your mouth because that is certainly one way people become infected with salmonella.

Even if you don’t have your own poultry, this is a good reminder to make sure that your children wash hands thoroughly and don’t kiss any animals if you attend things like a petting zoo or farm field trip.

So maybe this warning isn't as funny as I first thought it was. Luckily I think I am pretty safe, since the only chicken that comes near my mouth is in the nugget shape!


Image © Christine Glade/iStock

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