Chicks Spark Salmonella Outbreak in Qld

July 2, 2020 Updated: July 2, 2020

A clutch of fluffy chicks sold in pet and produce stores across Queensland has sparked a Salmonella outbreak in children.

A total of 17 cases have been reported, mostly in children who played with the chicks, says Queensland Health’s Dr Alun Richards.

Thirteen of the children are under the age of 11 and five have been hospitalised.

“The large majority of cases have reported handling chicks that were purchased in the two-week period prior to their illness,” Richards said.

The chicks were bought at produce and pet stores in Queensland from June 26 and an investigation into the supplier is under way.

Owners of backyard chooks have been urged to take extra precautions, including washing hands after touching the birds, fetching eggs or contact in the enclosure.

Parents have been warned not to let children snuggle or kiss the birds, touch their mouth, or eat or drink around poultry.

Also, Richards says chickens should not be allowed into the house.

Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhoea, fever and stomach cramps six to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria.

The illness usually lasts four to seven days and most people recover without treatment.

Children younger than five years old, adults aged 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems may develop a more severe illness.

Robyn Wuth in Brisbane