The Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) and the Department of Livestock (DOL) encourage safe handling of live poultry to prevent potential human illness.
According to public health, spring is a common time for Montanans to be raising young birds but want to make sure you are aware of the risks. Poultry can carry bacteria like Salmonella without showing any sign of a disease.
As of Friday, May 29th, 2020 there have been 36 cases of salmonellosis in Montana so far this year. In about 30% of those cases, the victims made contact with live poultry days before becoming ill. Public Health says that number is higher than normal.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating a multistate salmonella outbreak which was caused from contact with live poultry. The CDC confirmed that six cases part of this outbreak are in Montana.
“Have fun. This is interacting with live poultry and animals of any kind is a really healthy activity for families and people of any ages, but we want to protect your health by making sure that you're doing this in a safe and appropriate way," says Rachel Hinnenkamp, an Epidemiologist for the Department of Public Health and Human Services.
The department recommends safe-handling methods when dealing with live poultry.
They recommend washing hands after handling animals. Avoid touching your mouth, that includes eating and drinking when around the animals. Avoid kissing and snuggling with your birds and of course, make sure to supervise your small children.