The Roundup -

State Health Officials Offer Safety Tips When Handling Live Poultry


Update - As of May 11, 2016 eight cases of Salmonella across Montana are currently associated with multi-state outbreaks likely linked to live poultry such as baby chicks.

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 for guidance and more information. Julie Brodhead, RN from the Richland County Health Department encourages local residents to practice these prevention steps, as there have been cases in our county in the past.


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