The US is experiencing a widespread outbreak of salmonella, with at least 181 people infected across 40 states.
And part of the cause is that people tend too get a tad too affectionate with their live poultry, kissing chicks and cuddling ducks.
They're even spreading the love to (the less cute, but will suffice in a pinch) ducks and chickens.
Unfortunately, love isn't the only thing that's spreading.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
“Eighty-six percent of the 95 ill people who were interviewed reported contact with live poultry in the week before their illness began...Many people in these outbreaks reported bringing the live poultry into the homes, and others reported kissing or cuddling with the live poultry. These behaviors increase a person's risk of a salmonella infection.”
And salmonella isn't just a nuisance infection. The CDC reports 450 deaths each year in the US, out of 1.2 million cases of illness. Symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps; i.e. chicken kisses are simply not worth it.
Granted, most people get salmonella from eating or handling infected foods such as raw chicken, but the growing trend toward keeping chickens as pets is likely not helping.
Here's some advice to bird lovers: if you want to show poultry folk some love, support ethical chicken/egg farming. Said birds would likely prefer roaming the outdoors and not dying at an early age to being held down and nuzzled into submission.
Banner image credit: flickr @ Kevin Shorter