Cox Media Group National Content Desk
ATLANTA — A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report says that kissing chickens can spread salmonella.
The CDC said in a study released Wednesday that the increased popularity of backyard chicken farms has led to an increase in salmonella infections.
The CDC compiled data from 1990 to 2014 and found that live poultry-associated outbreaks of salmonella accounted for 2,630 illnesses, 387 hospitalizations and 5 deaths.
Salmonella is a germ that naturally lives in the intestines of poultry and other animals.
The CDC reported in its abstract that high-risk practices such as kissing birds — reported by 12 percent of case patients — and keeping poultry inside the home — reported by 46 percent of case patients — accounted in part for the increase in infections.
Salmonella is usually transferred by food, but the recent outbreaks are because of contact with animals, which the CDC said has been linked to contact with bearded dragons, hedgehogs, African dwarf frogs and turtles.
To prevent outbreaks, the CDC says the general public should educate themselves about the risks of outbreaks, wash their hands frequently after contact with live poultry and never allow poultry in the house.