KUSA - Although salmonella is usually known as a food-borne illness, the Colorado Department of Public Health warns it can also come from holding live chickens or coming in contact with cages and bedding.
The CDC says 2012 had the most outbreaks of human salmonella infections linked to backyard flocks in a single year.
The salmonella won't make other chickens sick but can harm humans.
State epidemiologists say these outbreaks tend to increase during the spring, as many give baby chicks as Easter gifts.
They warn parents to keep all kids five and under from handling young birds.
The following tips are suggested when handling the animals
• Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching live poultry or anything in the area where live poultry live and roam. Adults should supervise hand-washing for young children.
• Clean any equipment or materials associated with raising or caring for live poultry, such as cages, or feed and water containers, outside the house. Do not wash the cage or any related equipment in the kitchen sink or with a kitchen sink scrubber.
• Never bring live poultry inside the house, in bathrooms, or especially in areas where food or drink is prepared, served or stored, such as kitchens or outdoor patios.
Cronquist said Salmonella infection symptoms usually begin about one to three days after exposure and include diarrhea, fever and stomach pain. Illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most people recover without medical treatment.
However, in some people, the symptoms may be so severe that treatment or hospitalization is needed. Infants, elderly people and those with weakened immune systems are more likely than others to develop severe illness. When severe infection occurs, Salmonella may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.
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