As the spring season gets closer, the New Mexico Department of Health warns the public about the health risks that are associated with the purchase of baby chicks.
NMDOH cautions families about the severity of the Salmonella infection that is also associated with the animals.
“Salmonella infection can be a very serious and sometimes deadly illness, especially in young children,” said Department of Health Secretary Lynn Gallagher.
“Live poultry can be infected with Salmonella and not show any signs or symptoms. We urge families who recently purchased baby birds to not let live poultry inside the house, bathrooms, or areas where food is prepared, served or stored such as kitchens or outdoor patios.”
Symptoms of an infection can include fever, abdominal cramps, vomiting and diarrhea.
Young children, the elderly and pregnant women are more susceptible to more serious complications from the illness.
A nationwide outbreak of the illness associated with baby chicks resulted in 1,120 infections with 15 diagnosed in New Mexico.
NMDOH recommends the following when handling birds:
- Don’t allow live poultry in your home
- Don’t snuggle baby chicks
- Wash hands thoroughly and supervise hand washing in children
- Avoid eating/drinking/touching your mouth when handling birds
- Don’t clean equipment related to caring for poultry in the house
More information about how to prevent the spread of Salmonella can be found here.