April 18, 2014

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

KDA Contact:
Beth Riffel, 785-296-2653

KDHE, KDA warn of risk of human Salmonella infection from live poultry

TOPEKA, Kan. - Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) warn of the risk of human Salmonella infection from live poultry.

The beginning of spring includes blooms, blossoms, and baby poultry. Although adorable, live baby poultry can carry Salmonella and easily spread this bacterium to people, especially children. During 2013 a large, multistate outbreak of human Salmonella Typhimurium infections were linked to live poultry. More than 350 people were infected from 39 states; Kansas tied for third with 19 confirmed cases. Nationally, nearly 60 percent of the cases were in children 10 years or younger. Ninety-five percent of ill people reported purchasing live poultry from agricultural feed stores.

"Live baby poultry can carry, and shed, Salmonella but still appear healthy," said Robert Moser, MD, Secretary and State Health Officer. Children can be exposed through direct contact, such as holding, cuddling, or kissing the birds, but also by touching things where the birds live. This includes cages, feed, bedding, and water bowls. "It is particularly important to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling or caring for baby poultry. This, along with careful cleaning of equipment and materials associated with raising or caring for live poultry, will help to reduce the risk of infection," Moser said. Although people raise poultry for meat or egg production, many children receive baby poultry as a gift during Easter. In addition, families enjoy taking their children to the local feed store to view and touch the chicks and ducklings.

To reduce the risk of Salmonella infection from live poultry:



The USDA has a wealth of information on how to keep birds healthy and focuses on disease prevention practices. This information is for anyone who has birds including poultry, pet, or wild birds (