Animal Contact

Salmonella from chicks and ducklings?

In Springtime, many families get baby chicks as pets. As cute as they are, live poultry can spread Salmonella, so make sure you handle them properly. Wash your hands after you touch them. Check out these great tips from the Washington State Department of Health.

Petting zoos, fairs, and other animal exhibits, are great opportunities for entertainment and education about animals. Some of them can make you sick, though. Remember to wash your hands after petting them. 

What diseases can I get from animals?
All animals naturally carry a range of microorganisms, some of which can spread to humans and cause illness, human injury, and allergic reactions. Many diseases in the past decade have been linked with animal contact at petting zoos, zoos, circuses, farm tours, livestock birthing exhibits, county or state fairs, and schools. Organisms linked to human disease have included E. Coli 0157, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Giardia, Rabies, and Cryptosporidium.

What should I do to prevent these types of illnesses from animals?
Since animal fur, hair, or skin can become contaminated with feces, transmission can occur when animals are petted or touched. Wash your hands after touching the animals and their habitat to prevent these types of illnesses.

What precautions should animal exhibit operators take to keep customers safe?
Educate visitors and staff to reduce illness risks. Children younger than five years old, the elderly, pregnant women, or people with compromised immune systems have a higher risk of getting sick.

We recommend the following:

  • Provide educational information before any animal visit.
  • Wash hands after touching any animal.
  • Keep eating areas separate from animal contact areas.
  • No food or beverages allowed animal contact areas.
  • Supervise during animal contact.
  • Clean and disinfect animal areas daily.
  • Remove manure daily.
  • Remove sick animals.