The latest salmonella outbreak in the United States has affected 181 people so far in 40 states, with 33 people hospitalized. Luckily, there have been no fatalities associated with the outbreak.The foodborne illness seems to have spread fast, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the majority of people who fell ill had come into close contact with poultry over the past week, with the most cases in Alabama, Mississippi, and Virginia. Call it the “kissing chicken” disease.
“Ill people reported purchasing live poultry for backyard flocks to produce eggs or meat, or to keep as pets,” a CDC spokesperson said in the press release. “Many ill people in these outbreaks reported bringing the live poultry into their homes, and others reported kissing or cuddling with the live poultry. These behaviors increase a person’s risk of a salmonella infection.”
Yikes. So please, if you’re keeping feathered friends as pets, keep them at an arm’s distance until this whole thing blows over. However, even if you aren’t keeping domesticated ducks and chickens in your home, you should still be handling raw poultry meat with care to avoid getting sick from salmonella: cook meat thoroughly, wash your hands often, and don’t mix raw poultry with any other cooked food.