NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has made an odd request in their latest health warning – please stop kissing and snuggling up next to backyard chickens.
The new health alert came as the CDC reports over 1,000 people have been infected with salmonella in an outbreak that spans 49 states.
New York has been one of the hardest hit states with 58 people diagnosed since Aug. 23.
Over half of the people infected with salmonella have ended up in the hospital and two have died from the illness.
“Laboratory evidence indicate that contact with backyard poultry, such as chicks and ducklings, from multiple hatcheries are the likely source of these outbreaks,” the CDC alert explained.
Health officials added that because local backyard poultry is the likeliest source of the outbreak – and because a quarter of the patients are young children – they have specific recommendations to stay healthy:
“Don’t kiss backyard poultry or snuggle them and then touch your face or mouth.”
The CDC added people with backyard flocks should also not eat or drink around their chickens, always wash their hands after touching the animals, and keep young children and seniors over 65 away from live poultry.
Most people infected with salmonella experience diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps around 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria.
The sickness usually lasts about four days to a week and most patients will recover without needing medical treatment.
Severe cases can spread infection to the bloodstream and are a bigger threat to children under five and older adults.
For more on the CDC’s latest warning, click here.