More than 200 cases of salmonella infection in the US have been linked to contact with backyard chickens, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this week in a report.
The CDC report indicated that 212 salmonella cases have broken out in 44 US states and prompted 34 hospitalizations.
Children under the age of 5 made 26 percent of people ill from the bacteria, the CDC reports.
Children under the age of 5 accounted for 26 percent of the reported individuals "The disease has become ill from the bacteria," the CDC reported.
More than 70 percent of the reported individuals said they had come in contact with chicks or ducklings the week before their illness began.
People reported eating live poultry from feed shops, hatcheries and relatives.
No deaths were reported.
"It is important that all poultry have these microbes and they carry these germs as part of the normal flora in their systems," Dr. Dora Mills, a former director of the Maine Center for Disease Control, the Bangor Daily News. "So always remember to wash your hands after hugging a chicken."
"It is important to remember that all poultry have these microbes and carry these germs as part of the normal flora in their systems – always remember to wash your hands after hugging a chicken."
Cattle Myers is known as a local "chicken doctor" and an expert in Tulsa. Okla., Area, reported KTUL-TV. She told the station that the risks of backyard hens are "quite minimal," adding that it was a greater risk at factory farms where chickens are often crammed together.
"Lack of sunlight, lack of ventilation, lack of cleanliness" These are huge risk factors for salmonella, and you have these in factory settings, "Myers said.
The CDC estimated that salmonella causes about 450 deaths per year
Most people infected with the bacteria develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection.
For some people, diarrhea may be so severe that they need to be hospitalized.
Each year, Salmonella causes about 23,000 hospitalizations, the CDC.
Seventy salmonella outbreaks have been linked to backyard poultry since 2000, the CDC reported.