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Public Health » Communicable Disease

Salmonella and Backyard Poultry
Many people are keeping live backyard poultry such as chickens and ducks. Having backyard poultry has many benefits, but remember that they carry some bacteria that can make people sick.

You can take some simple actions to keep you and your family healthy!
Wash your hands: use soap and water right after touching live poultry and their surroundings.
Handle the birds safely: children younger than 5, adults over 65 and those with weakened immune systems should not handle or touch live poultry.
Safely clean the coops: clean the equipment outside and keep a pair of shoes outside to use while taking care of the poultry.
Keep poultry outside: do not let live poultry inside the house, especially the kitchen.

More Information:
Wisconsin Department of Health Services Fact Sheet
CDC Healthy Families and Flocks Fact Sheet
CDC Video

Salmonella and Turtles
Turtles and other reptiles, often carry a germ called Salmonella, but appear perfectly healthy and clean. Salmonella germs can make people sick with diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and sometimes abdominal cramps.

Tips to reduce the risk of illness from turtles and other reptiles:
1. Don’t buy small turtles from street vendors, websites, pet stores, or other sources.

2. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water immediately after touching a reptile or anything in the area where they live and roam. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available. Adults should always supervise hand washing for young children.

3. Don’t let young children handle or touch reptiles or anything in the area where they live and roam, including water from containers or tanks.

4. Keep reptiles out of homes with young children or people with weakened immune systems.

5. Reptiles should not be kept in child care centers, nursery schools, or other facilities with young children.

6. Don’t touch your mouth after handling reptiles and do not eat or drink around these animals.

7. Don’t let reptiles roam freely throughout the house or in areas where food or drink is prepared, served, or stored, such as kitchens, pantries, or outdoor patios.

For more information on protecting yourself and your family from illness and to learn more about safely cleaning reptile habitats, please visit: