The CDC Says You Shouldn't Be Touching This One Common Animal Right Now

Anyone who keeps this type of pet should be careful of getting too affectionate.

For many, being able to snuggle up to your furry friend is one of the best parts of being a pet owner. But if you happen to have one specific type of companion, you may want to hold off on being overly affectionate for the time being. That's because the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that you shouldn't be touching this one common animal right now due to a safety concern. Read on to see which of your pets you should avoid actually petting.

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The CDC warns that you shouldn't be touching chickens right now due to a Salmonella outbreak.


It appears that now is not the time to pucker up for poultry. In a statement released on May 20, the CDC warned that touching or handling live chickens or ducks could put you at risk of a serious bacterial infection.

"Don't kiss or snuggle backyard poultry, and don't eat or drink around them," the agency cautioned in their statement. "This can spread salmonella germs to your mouth and make you sick," even if the birds appear to be healthy and clean.

Stomach-related symptoms and fever can be sign of Salmonella.

man sitting on a couch in pain, abdominal pain, hand on stomach, looking uncomfortable
Prostock-Studio / iStock

As of May 24, the CDC reports that the current salmonella outbreak has led to 163 reported illnesses and 34  hospitalizations across 43 states since January. But the past year saw a sudden uptick in infections, with the agency reporting in December that "the number of illnesses reported (in 2020) was higher than the number reported during any of the past years' outbreaks linked to backyard flocks."

According to the CDC, the most common Salmonella symptoms include diarrhea that is bloody or lasts more than three days, a fever above 102 degrees Fahrenheit, vomiting, and stomach cramps. Symptoms usually start anywhere from six hours to six days after infection and last four to seven days before clearing up. However, the agency cautions that some may not see any symptoms for several weeks after they've been infected and that some may not recover for several weeks.

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Children and people over 65 are especially susceptible to Salmonella poisoning.


While most cases of Salmonella poisoning can resolve themselves without medical treatment, some are more susceptible to serious complications from infections. This includes children under the age of five, adults 65 years and older, and anyone with a weakened immune system, the CDC warns.

"Always supervise children around backyard poultry and make sure they wash their hands properly afterward," the agency advised in its statement. "Don't let children younger than five years touch chicks, ducklings, or other backyard poultry."

All backyard eggs should also be handled and cleaned properly before eating.

Brown eggs

On top of resisting the urge to cuddle or kiss your fowl friends, the CDC also suggests putting hand sanitizer near coops and washing your hands anytime you've handled the birds or been in their living environment. They also suggest cleaning any eggs properly and storing them in the refrigerator as soon as you gather them.

"Rub off dirt on eggs with fine sandpaper, a brush, or a cloth. Don't wash them because colder water can pull germs into the egg," the CDC advised.

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Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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