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Whit Johnson ReportingEaster gifts gone wrong, health officials say chicks and ducklings are the cause of a Salmonella outbreak in Utah. Several people have become sick and two children went to the hospital.
The Centers for Disease Control say children under the age of five should not handle chicks, ducklings or other birds because they can be very sensitive to Salmonella. Health officials say there's no reason to panic, though; preventing illness is a matter of hygiene.
They're cute, they're cuddly and popular. Braden Smith from Dallas Green Farm and Home says, "We on average sell about 4,000 birds a year."
At Dallas Green Farm and Home, chicks and ducklings are hot items and come Easter, the West Haven store is not alone, but this year's holiday gift came with something more.
Tina L'Estrange, with the Weber-Morgan Health Department said, "Some people are mildly sick and they get over it, though they might of had the flu bug, or some people get very sick and get dehydrated and need hospitalization."
The Weber-Morgan Health Department discovered five cases of Salmonella linked to handling baby birds close to Easter. Three other cases have been reported in Utah County and Central and Southeastern Utah. There have been a total of 23 nationwide, all traced to a hatchery in New Mexico.
Braden Smith also works at Dallas Green Farm and Home. He said, "I don't think there needs to be any panic. You could get salmonella from any animal."
Health officials agree. The key is hygiene. Wash your hands before touching your face or eating something. And if you must have a bird, for food or as a pet, keep them away from places you eat.
Dallas Green Farm and Home says they've never had an issue with people getting sick from contaminated birds. The health department has not told us the name of the store that sold them.