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NM Department of Health Reports Salmonella Associated with Baby Birds

Proper hygiene practices help prevent Salmonella infection

By New Mexico Department of health

SANTA FE, NM – The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) cautions residents about the potential for annual spring time purchases of baby chicks to lead to Salmonella infections. Families are advised to keep baby chicks or other baby birds out of their homes and use caution in order to avoid the infection.

In the Spring 2017, fifteen cases of Salmonella were diagnosed among New Mexicans during a nationwide outbreak associated with baby chicks that lead to 1,120 infections, 249 hospitalizations, and one death over several U.S. states.

“Salmonella infection can be a very serious and sometimes deadly illness, especially in young children” said Department of Health Secretary Lynn Gallagher. “Live poultry can be infected with Salmonella and not show any signs or symptoms. We urge families who recently purchased baby birds to not let live poultry inside the house, bathrooms, or areas where food is prepared, served, or stored, such as kitchens or outdoor patios.”

Early symptoms of Salmonella in people include fever, diarrhea and stomach pain and can develop one to three days after exposure to baby chicks and their droppings. Other symptoms might include nausea, chills or headaches.

Salmonella infection is especially risky when parents keep the baby birds inside the house and allow their small children to handle or snuggle with them with no regard to how the infection can be passed from bird to child.

When handling chicks or other baby birds, NMDOH recommends:

  • Adults use hand sanitizer or wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water immediately after touching live baby birds or anything in the area where they live and roam.
  • Adults also supervise hand washing for young children.
  • At any age, don’t snuggle or kiss baby birds.
  • Don’t allow live poultry in the home.
  • Don’t touch your mouth or eat or drink around live baby poultry.
  • Don’t wear shoes in the home that were worn in the coop.
  • Don’t clean any equipment or materials associated with raising or caring for live poultry (cages, feed, water containers) in the house.
  • Do not let children younger than 5-years-old touch chicks, ducklings, or other live poultry.
  • Visit your physician if you or your child experience abdominal pain, fever and/or diarrhea.

Learn more about Salmonella infection from live baby poultry, http://www.cdc.gov/Features/SalmonellaBabyBirds/.

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