Guest blog by:  Craig Levy, Program Manager for Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases

Easter is just around the corner, and a lot of parents will be tempted to purchase cute little chicks or ducklings for their kids. Unfortunately, chicks and ducklings are common carriers of Salmonella bacteria and pose an infection risk to families.  At greater risk for serious infections are children younger than 5 years old, organ transplant recipients, people with HIV AIDS, people on chemotherapy and the elderly.

You can  prevent illness  with a few simple precautions:

  • Do not purchase live animals as Easter gifts. Give stuffed toy animals instead.
  • Do not keep chicks or ducklings if you have children younger than five, immunocompromised persons (HIV AIDS, organ transplant recipient, people on chemotherapy) or elderly persons in your household.
  • Always wash your hands with soap and water immediately after touching chicks or ducklings or anything in their environment.
  • Supervise children to make sure they are not nuzzling or kissing chicks or ducklings.
  • Supervise hand washing for small children to make sure it is done well.
  • Do not eat or drink around your chickens.
  • Keep chickens away from food preparation areas.
  • Do not allow chickens to roam freely in the house.
  • Routinely clean-up and disinfect contaminated areas.
  • Visit your physician if you experience abdominal pain, fever and/or diarrhea after potential exposures.

To learn more about pet birds and public health, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at: