05/25/2015 10:09 EDT | Updated 05/26/2016 05:59 EDT

Salmonella Outbreak In Western Canada Linked To Alberta Chicks

You should never "snuggle or kiss the birds."

Every year the Houston Livestock Show incubates and hatches eggs to give show visitors a visual education in chicken farming. These little guys hatched and as soon as they had energy made their way straight for the space heater.Can't say I blame them!

OTTAWA - The Public Health Agency of Canada says it's investigating an outbreak of salmonella in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan linked to live chicks from an Alberta hatchery.

Thirty-four people reported getting sick — 17 in Alberta, 13 in B.C. and four in Saskatchewan — between April 5 and May 12.

Alberta Agriculture is working with the unnamed hatchery to determine the source of the infection, and says the hatchery is sending out letters to its customers who have placed orders for live baby poultry beginning March 1.

Symptoms of salmonella include fever, chills, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, nausea and vomiting.

The public health agency says warns people should always wash their hands after handling live birds, and should never "snuggle or kiss the birds."

Those at highest risk for infection are children under the age of five, pregnant women, the elderly and those with weaker immune systems.

"Young children are at higher risk of infection because they often enjoy handling and interacting with live baby poultry and may not wash their hands before putting their fingers or other contaminated items in or near their mouths," says the agency.

"If infected, young children are also at increased risk for serious illness because their immune systems are still developing."


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