Reacting to the sudden outbreak of salmonella the US CDC has urged people to refrain from kissing their chicken. “Don’t kiss or snuggle the birds, as this can spread germs to your mouth and make you sick”, said America’s top body for disease prevention and control.
Salmonella is a genus of bacteria that is found in raw or undercooked meat, eggs and other food products. The rod-shaped bacteria belong to the family known as Enterobacteriaceae. The CDC reports that every year the US sees 1.35 million salmonella infection and around 420 deaths due to it.
Though highly infectious, the disease isn’t fatal in most cases. Infections primarily affect the gastrointestinal tract and fever, diarrhoea, stomach pain and vomiting. In extreme cases, the bacterial can enter the bloodstream and cause death.
The report of the recent outbreaks has shown that around 30 percent affected are kids under the age of five. CDC warns that poultry animals can carry these bacteria with them even when they look clean and healthy.
Since mid-February 34 people have been taken to the hospital because of the infection. There have been no deaths so far.
Health authorities suggest washing hands after coming into contact with poultry as a best practice to keep the infection at bay. They are also asking families to prevent children from coming to contact with the birds to avoid the chance of infection.