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CDC: Easter pets can make you sick

Baby chicks and ducks, a popular Easter present for children, can cause salmonella poisoning, the government said in warning again that people should wash their hands after handling fowl.

For example, 39 people, almost half of them age 2 or younger, got sick with salmonella in Idaho, Washington and Oregon in 1995 and 1996, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. All the cases occurred near Easter.

Of the 23 people who got sick in Idaho and Washington, at least 17 had touched chicks. Seven of the 16 people in Oregon had held a chick, hen or rooster, the CDC said.

The CDC said people should avoid feces of fowl and should thoroughly wash their hands after touching them.

Salmonella, which sickens 2-million to 4-million people a year, is more commonly linked to raw chicken. It is a potentially fatal illness that causes diarrhea and vomiting.

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