David Morgan
575-528-5197 Office
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Salmonella Risk in Baby Chicks and Other Young Poultry

March 25, 2014 - Foodborne Diseases - Awareness

The New Mexico Department of Health and the New Mexico Livestock Board are again warning families that plan to purchase baby chicks or other baby birds this spring to use extreme caution in order to avoid Salmonella infection, especially if buying the birds for young children. Last year, New Mexico had 19 human cases of Salmonella related to baby chicks and ducklings. Many of the cases were in young children and there were 5 hospitalizations.

“While raising poultry can be a great experience, it is important to take some simple precautions to protect your children and your family,” said Department of Health Secretary Retta Ward, MPH. “Poultry can carry Salmonella germs and still appear healthy and clean. That makes it easy for people to let their guard down, and that’s when they run the risk of getting Salmonella.”

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

“Salmonella can contaminate a bird’s body and anything in the area where they are housed or allowed to roam,” said Dr. Paul Ettestad, state public health veterinarian at the Department of Health. “This means infection can occur when parents keep the baby birds inside the house and allow their small children to handle and snuggle with them or when parents don’t wash their hands properly after handling the birds, indirectly giving the infection to their children.”

The Department recommends that people young and old take the following preventive measures:

Learn more about the Risk of Human Salmonella Infections from Baby Poultry by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

You can also find Salmonella information in the Foodborne Diseases section of our website.


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