Baby Chicks Could Spread Serious Illness - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Baby Chicks Could Spread Serious Illness

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YAKIMA, Wash. -- They are cute and irresistible, but parents may want to think twice before letting their kids handle them. We're talking about Easter chicks.

In recent years a number of salmonella outbreaks have been traced back to baby chicks or ducklings kids have encountered on Easter.

The Yakima Health District says the origin and shipping environments of these chicks can sometimes be contaminated causing fecal matter to get into their feathers and spread to other chicks.

Gordon Kelly is the Director of Environmental Health at the Yakima Health District.

He says, "The little kissing and nuzzling that kids like to do with those things is not recommended for the very young, because they are very susceptible to these organisms. It can also be a source of bringing an organism home to someone who is immune compromised."

If you do decide to let your kids touch the chicks Gordon says the best prevention is to wear gloves or wash your hands immediately after holding them.

The salmonella risk is also true for animals like rabbits,  but the biggest risk is the chicks and ducklings.