In the face of soaring salmonellosis cases in the United States, health authorities issued a recommendation that did not fail for entertainment: They asked Americans to stop kissing their chickens and other poultry.
“Don’t accept or hug poultry in the backyard, nor eat or drink near them,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the main federal health agency, asked seriously.
According to the CDC, the increase in the number of salmonellosis cases is partly related to this behavior: 163 cases have been recorded since mid-February, including 34 hospitalizations.
“The interviews with the patients showed that contact with poultry may have been the source of the epidemic,” they added.
The CDC warned that even if they appear clean, these animals, such as chickens or ducks, can carry salmonella, a bacterium that can cause diarrhea, fever and vomiting.
The authorities also recommended washing hands well after contact with poultry, and discouraging children from playing with them.
Usually, infection occurs through eating contaminated eggs or dairy products. Tens of millions of cases are recorded every year, but they are rarely fatal.