By Calvin Men, email@example.com
1:10 AM EDT, April 24, 2013
An outbreak of salmonella in South Dakota and Minnesota have caused each state's department of health to remind the public to be careful when handling baby chicks and ducks.
"People want to come in and let their kids fiddle with the baby chicks," said Lon Kightlinger, state epidemiologist for South Dakota. "And who can resist them, frankly?"
Four cases in South Dakota — three adults and a 4-year-old child — and three cases in Minnesota were reported by the departments. The South Dakota cases were reported in the southeast and southwest part of the state, according to the state health department.
Salmonella is a bacteria carried by animals and shed in their feces. Chicks, ducklings and other poultry can carry the bacteria on their feathers or feet.
The bacteria is often contracted when someone touches his face after handling poultry or forgets to wash his hands, the release said.
"These chicks, they're little poop bombs," Kightlinger said.
A number of places in Aberdeen sell baby chicks.
Jeff Bruse, manager at Tractor Supply Company, said customers aren't allowed to handle the baby chicks in the store.
"When you buy them, I put them in a box, and I don't allow any outside people other than employees (to touch the chicks)," he said.
It is the company's policy not to let customers handle the chicks, he said.
"It's for the chicks' protection and the people's protection," he said.