While a salmonella outbreak is spreading across the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are begging Americans not to "kiss and hug" chickens.
The agency says that live poultry with the bacteria is responsible for infecting many of the 52 people in 21 states.
According to health officials, most infections are linked to poultry in the backyard, especially chickens and young ducklings.
Up to now, five people have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported.
The CDC asks people not to kiss and hug chickens. amid a salmonella outbreak that made 52 people sick in 21 states (file image)
This is not the first time the CDC has warned people about kissing or hugging live birds.
Last October the agency also begged people to do that stop dressing up their pet chickens in Halloween costumes.
The current outbreak began in January with people reporting disease symptoms until April 29.
Affected states are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Ohio leads the pack with nine cases, followed by Missouri with six cases and Pennsylvania with five cases.
The age of the patients varies from 1 to 60 years, and more than a quarter of the sick are less than five years old.
After talking to 33 of the infected people, the CDC said that 70 percent of them reported contact with chicks and young ducklings.
Therefore, the agency believes that the source of the outbreak is likely to be & # 39; poultry in the backyard of multiple hatcheries & # 39; is.
Although people can keep their coops clean, health officials say it is possible to get sick after coming into contact with harmful bacteria, including salmonella, on the feathers, feet and beaks of live poultry.
& # 39; Do not kiss or nest your birds and then touch your face or mouth & # 39 ;, the CDC warns on its website.
Do not kiss or nest your birds and then touch your face or mouth
Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Salmonella infections occur after eating raw meat and eggs or food contaminated with the bacteria.
Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain that usually last between four and seven days.
According to the CDC, salmonella is the cause of 1.2 million diseases, 23,000 hospitalizations and 450 deaths in the US annually.
Most people can recover without treatment, although there are cases where antibiotics or intravenous fluids are needed.
The CDC has not recalled chicken products, but it urges consumers to take safety measures to prevent infections. This includes washing hands, cutting boards, counters and kitchen utensils with hot water and soap after processing raw meat.
Earlier this month, health officials also warned Americans not to wash raw chicken because it could lead to food poisoning.
On Twitter, the agency said that raw chicken juices – which may contain salmonella, Campylobacter bacteria and Clostridium perfringens bacteria – can spread and infect other parts of the kitchen.
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