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Newly hatched poultry carry Salmonella risk

Nine people in Minnesota have become ill after handling baby chicks or other newly hatched poultry, such as ducks, turkeys or pheasants, prompting a warning from health officials to wash hands and take other precautions after handling young poultry.

Minnesota Department of Health investigators have linked nine cases of Salmonella infections to baby chicks or other newly hatched poultry purchased from multiple feed stores in Minnesota. The cases are associated with a multistate outbreak of Salmonella infections, or salmonellosis, being investigated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

MDH veterinarian Dr. Stacy Holzbauer said the outbreak underscores the importance of washing hands thoroughly after handling chicks, ducklings or other birds. “Chicks can be a great attraction for children and families this time of year, but they can also be a source of illness,” Holzbauer said. “Young children are especially at risk and are also more likely to develop serious complications.”

Salmonella is a type of bacteria carried in the intestines of animals that can be shed into the environment in their feces. It can cause diarrhea, vomiting and fever.