Americans have been warned not to kiss or snuggle with their pet chickens or let them inside the house, as the USA deals with multiple outbreaks of Salmonella.

More than 1000 people have been reported infected with the bacteria across 49 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Two people in Ohio and Texas have died and nearly 200 have been hospitalised during the series of outbreaks, which involve several different Salmonella strains.

Contact with backyard poultry, including chickens and ducklings, is thought to be the cause. Two thirds of sick people interviewed said they had recently handled backyard poultry.


The CDC warned that healthy, clean-looking chickens could still carry Salmonella.

Chicken owners were warned not to let their chooks inside, and to clean their hands stringently with soap and water after touching the birds or their living quarters.

Children under 5 and adults over 65 should not touch them at all, the CDC notice said.

"Don't let backyard poultry inside the house, especially in areas where food or drink is prepared, served or stored.

"Set aside a pair of shoes to wear while taking care of poultry and keep those shoes outside of the house," the notice said.

"Don't eat or drink where poultry live or roam. Don't kiss backyard poultry or snuggle them and then touch your face or mouth."

CDC guidelines also suggest collecting eggs frequently, putting them in the fridge, and cleaning them with sandpaper, a brush or cloth.

Don't wash eggs when they're still warm as cold water can pull bacteria into the egg, the CDC says.

Even a healthy, clean-looking chicken can carry Salmonella. Photo / APN
Even a healthy, clean-looking chicken can carry Salmonella. Photo / APN