The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would like for everyone to please refrain from kissing their chickens. And from snuggling them. And from eating with them. And from inviting them in their homes.
As a matter of fact, it’s probably a good idea for people to just give their chickens some space.
The CDC and health officials have been investigating several multi-state outbreaks of Salmonella linked to contact with backyard poultry — meaning chicks, ducklings and the like.
The organization issued an update to its investigation on August 30, and cautioned all chicken keepers to wash their hands with soap and water after touching poultry or anything where such animals roam.
The CDC reports that as of August 23, there have been more than 1,000 cases of Salmonella from the outbreak across 49 states. Two people have died from the infection, and 175 people have been hospitalized.
For those wondering why the CDC felt compelled to caution people against getting too cozy with their poultry, the phenomenon is apparently more common than one might think.
A 2016 study from the CDC showed that an alarming number of people have apparently contracted salmonella from kissing their fowl friends. Of the chicken-related salmonella cases the CDC studied from 1990 to 2014, thirteen percent of patients had shared a smooch with birds.
Meanwhile, 49 percent of patients the CDC studied said they had snuggled baby chicks, and 46 percent said they kept chickens in the house. Ten percent of respondents said they kept chickens in their bedroom.
So please, people, don’t make the CDC beg. Just leave the chickens alone.