Salmonella and Baby Chicks

Salmonella and Baby Chicks: A Dangerous Condition

In many families, Easter tradition includes the gift of cute little chicks or ducks to the kids or other loved ones. Unfortunately, that tradition has a bit of a down side, according to officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in that it can make people sick.

Last week, the CDC announced the launch of an investigation into an outbreak of Salmonella that has been linked to live poultry from a hatchery in Ohio, called Mt. Healthy Hatcheries. It’s actually the sixth such Salmonella outbreak tied to live poultry from that particular hatchery, including one in 2012 and another in 2013. To date, the outbreak has made at least 63 people in 23 states sick, with a third of them becoming sick enough to be hospitalized. Most victims are small children.

According to the CDC, because the hatchery uses multiple sources to obtain their chicks and eggs, the source of the original contamination is unknown.

Cases of Salmonella quite often rise in the days after Easter, because parents order the chicks and ducklings as gifts. Most victims become ill because their owners tend to bring the birds into the home, and more than ten percent of them actually report having kissed them. The CDC warns against kissing the birds, and recommend limiting affections to petting. But even then, the person doing the petting should wash his or her hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after any contact. In fact, they recommend not bringing the live poultry into the house at all, because they are often infected by salmonella and it is carried on their feathers and in their feces.

This outbreak is not as isolated as many think. Since 1990, the CDC reports that more than 2,200 cases of salmonella have been linked to live poultry. As a result, five people have died. They also note that, because only a few people see severe symptoms, there are approximately 30 unreported cases for every reported case.

More needs to be done on the supply end to alleviate this problem, so it’s good that the CDC is investigating. All such outbreaks are preventable, by taking adequate precautions and testing the chicks and ducklings before they are shipped. If you or a loved one have purchased infected live poultry and become ill or died, please contact the Foodborne Illness Safety Lawyer at Hill Law Firm to protect your rights.

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