By BROOKE WANSER
With the Easter holiday approaching this weekend, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture has issued a warning against purchasing baby chicks and ducklings.
Because live poultry carry salmonella bacteria, humans handling birds are at risk for contracting the bacteria, which can cause abdominal upset, and in rare cases, may prove fatal.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 450 people die each year due to acute salmonellosis.
Those with weak immune systems, the elderly and very young should not handle birds of any type. Those who come into contact with birds should wash their hands with soap and water immediately after.
“Live poultry may have Salmonella germs in their droppings and on their bodies even when they appear healthy and clean,” Tennessee Department of Health State Epidemiologist Dr. Tim Jones said.
“Those germs can also get on cages, coops, feed and water dishes and other items where the birds roam and can be found on the hands, shoes and clothing of people who handle the birds or work or play around them. We recommend families leave handling of live poultry to people trained in their appropriate care.”
For those who own backyard flocks, the department has a list of specific guidelines to keep both owner and birds safe and healthy. Click here for more information.