Sure, backyard chickens are lovable. But a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending you treat your poultry with a little less affection.

Diseases linked to snuggling fowl are on the rise, prompting the CDC to warn against kissing chickens.

Chickens are chic in some Colorado Springs neighborhoods. The city has long allowed a flock of up to 10 of the fowl in urban yards.

But risks accompany the birds.

According to a recent update, as of August, 1,003 people have been infected with salmonella in 49 states, including Colorado. Of those, 605 have been hospitalized — 23% of them age 5 or younger — and two people have died, one in Texas and another in Ohio.

Most of those who fell ill were in contact with chicks or ducklings, evidence showed.

Children and elderly people are particularly susceptible to infectious diseases.

The CDC recommends: Always wash your hands with soap after interacting with poultry. Don’t bring live poultry into your house, and set aside a pair of shoes to keep outside so you don’t carry chicken contaminants into the house.

And, of course: “Don’t kiss backyard poultry or snuggle them and then touch your face or mouth.”

Those chicks look cute, but play it safe. Salmonella infection leads to fever, stomach cramps and diarrhea.

Terry is a journalist and social media manager for The Gazette. He's a graduate of the University of Denver, loves the Denver Broncos, and is a member of the Television Critics Association and Broadcast Television Journalists Association.

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