FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 2, 2016
Contact: Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936
Chuck Council, Communications Specialist, DPHHS, (406) 444-4391
State health officials offer safety tips when handling live poultry
Raising backyard poultry has become increasingly popular in Montana and many feed stores across the state offer chicks for sale.
State health officials say that raising chicks can be a rewarding and fun experience, but they are reminding Montanans to keep safe handling practices in mind when handling live poultry in order to limit disease risk.
“Even healthy animals can carry organisms that make people sick,” said Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) epidemiologist Dana Fejes. In 2015, 10 percent of Montanans who became ill with salmonella had contact to live poultry. Young children and persons with weakened immune systems are at greatest risk for infection.
For that reason, DPHHS and the Department of Livestock (DOL) are sending educational materials to feed stores so Montanans can learn how to care for live poultry safely. “Look for trivia questions on soap bars at your local store,” Fejes said.
DOL Assistant State Veterinarian Dr. Tahnee Szymanksi said: “Next time you care for your backyard flock, please remember the following simple prevention measures to keep your families healthy and enjoy the benefits of raising animals.”
- Wash your hands after handling animals,
- Avoid touching your mouth after animal contact,
- Don’t eat or drink around animals,
- Don’t bring poultry into the house, and
- Supervise small children around animals.
“Together we can prevent illnesses and keep our children and communities healthy,” Fejes stressed. Please visit www.dphhs.mt.gov for guidance and more information.