The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would like for everyone to please refrain from kissing their chickens. And from snuggling with them. And from eating with them. And from inviting them in their homes.
As a matter of fact, it’s probably a good idea for people to just give their chickens some space.
The CDC and health officials have been investigating several multi-state outbreaks of Salmonella linked to contact with backyard poultry—meaning chicks, ducklings, and the like.
The organization issued an update to its investigation on Aug. 30, and cautioned all chicken keepers to wash their hands with soap and water after touching poultry or anything where such animals roam.
The CDC reports that as of Aug. 23, there have been more than 1,000 cases of Salmonella from the outbreak across 49 states. Two people have died from the infection, and 175 people have been hospitalized.
For those wondering why the CDC felt compelled to caution people against getting too cozy with their poultry, the phenomenon is apparently more common than one might think.
A 2016 study from the CDC showed that an alarming number of people have apparently contracted salmonella from kissing their fowl friends. Of the chicken-related salmonella cases the CDC studied from 1990 to 2014, thirteen percent of patients had shared a smooch with birds.
Meanwhile, 49 percent of patients the CDC studied said they had snuggled baby chicks, and 46 percent said they kept chickens in the house. Ten percent of respondents said they kept chickens in their bedroom.
Raising chickens in urban areas has becoming popular nowadays, either as pets or for the eggs, but regulations about keeping chickens varies from city to city, and from state to state. Before you buy any live chicken, according to Omelet.us, here are a few things to check beforehand:
- Zoning Laws and Ordinances: These dictate how a property can be used—or, more to the point, not be used.
- Restrictive covenants and Homeowners Association Rules: These are clauses in property deeds limiting the uses of that property. They will sometimes make poultry-keeping a non-starter, although usually they simply limit the number of birds that can be kept, and restrict commercial poultry activities.
- Lease restrictions: Rented properties often have limitations on the pets and livestock that can be kept on the premises.
- Building codes: Chicken coop design may be subject to the stern gaze of local planning officers.