Don’t Cuddle Your Chickens—Or Dress Them Up for Halloween, CDC Warns

While many are getting into the spooky spirit as Halloween looms nearer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is asking that chicken owners please don’t costume their feathered pets, Louisiana news station KNOE reports.

The unique holiday advice is an attempt to control the spread of salmonella, which can be found on chicken’s bodies and in their droppings, even if the animal isn’t sick. The CDC warns that just those who have contact with just the coops or water dishes can contract the illness.

Thus, getting your pet into a costume would certainly risk exposure. Chicken owner Stephanie Morse, however, told KNOE that, “It’s just about hand hygiene.”

“After you touch them, when you go inside make sure you just wash your hands, and you watch where you step,” she told the news station, adding that the CDC’s warnings will not stop her from putting sweaters on her somewhat unconventional pets.

The CDC’s page for chicken owners does say to always wash your hands after handling poultry or anything in their living area, and specifically don’t “kiss your birds or snuggle them and then touch your face or mouth.”

The organization released a notice last week stating that 92 people in 29 states have already been infected with an antibiotic-resistant strain of salmonella due to contact with raw chicken. Twenty-one people have been hospitalized, with no deaths reported.

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