April 14, 2006
Thorough hand washing after handling baby chicks given as Easter presents to young children tops a list of safety precautions issued today by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to reduce the risk of contracting salmonella.
Salmonella bacteria are sometimes found in poultry feces and in or on eggs and can cause diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain and fever. Salmonella usually does not cause serious illness, but it can.
The bacteria can be transmitted to humans when they come in contact with poultry feces and then transfer it to their mouths.
DSHS offered additional tips for a safer Easter:
• Don't keep Easter chicks inside homes.
• Supervise hand washing for young children after they have handled the chicks.
• Use plastic eggs instead of real eggs for Easter egg hunts.
• If using real eggs, hardboil them and refrigerate them within two hours of cooking. Refrigerated boiled eggs should be eaten within seven days of the time they are cooked.
• Limit the hiding and hunting time for real eggs to two hours. Refrigerate them immediately if they are to be eaten.
(News Media: for more information contact Eric Fonken, D.V.M., DSHS Zoonosis Control Program, 512-458-7255; or Doug McBride, DSHS Press Officer, 512-458-7524.)