Backyard chicken trend leads to more disease infections - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Backyard chicken trend leads to more disease infections

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By DAVID PITT
Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The trend of raising backyard chickens is causing a soaring number of illnesses from poultry-related diseases.

Since January, nearly 1,000 people have contracted salmonella poisoning from chickens and ducks in 48 states. More than 200 were hospitalized and one person died. The Centers for Disease Control says that toll was four times higher than in 2015.

Experts say a big factor is people who treat their birds like pets by kissing or snuggling them and letting them walk around indoors.

Poultry can carry salmonella bacteria in their intestines that can be shed in their feces. The bacteria can attach to feathers and dust and brush off on shoes or clothing.

But the CDC says illnesses can be prevented with proper handling, including washing hands after handling the birds.

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