Salmonella Easter Chicks

Did you know that some people give kids little baby chicks as Easter gifts? (Image credit) I had no idea that this was happening. When I was a kid, I was content with an Easter basket with lots of chocolate and sweets in it. And then, the traditional annual Easter egg hunt. Now, that was a good time!

In this Associated Press article, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that the giving of birds to kids, especially for Easter, may carry the danger of salmonella infection. Ew!

"This time of year, when everyone's wanting to give their kid a baby chick or baby duckling, that's when we start to see these outbreaks in people not accustomed to handling farm animals," said Charles Hofacre, a University of Georgia professor of veterinary medicine.

Salmonella is an infection that causes diarrhea, fever and vomiting. The bacteria live in the intestines of chickens and spread through their feces, which can cling to a bird's feet or feathers, even if it looks clean.

Children get sick by touching the birds and then putting their hands in their mouths. Young children are more susceptible than most adults, and those under 5 should not handle baby birds, officials said.

The article goes on to report recent salmonella outbreaks and how some states have passed laws discouraging giving small birds as Easter gifts. Who knew it was so common to give small birds this time of year? I guess I didn't.

So, for those of you out there who observe Easter, think twice before getting that baby chick for that young child in your life -- Better to stick with the Easter bonnet, Easter basket, and Easter candy. You'll be glad you did....