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The CDC Never Warned Against Dressing Chickens In Halloween Costumes Due To Salmonella

Contrary to false reports, it's perfectly fine to dress your chickens in costumes this Halloween — just don't forget to wash your hands.

Posted on October 30, 2018, at 4:30 p.m. ET

You can let out a big sigh of relief because the CDC says it's actually okay to dress up your chickens in costumes this Halloween.

Yes, you can finally put your chicken in that mini Harley Quinn costume you've been holding on to for months.
Fernando Trabanco Fotografía / Getty Images

Yes, you can finally put your chicken in that mini Harley Quinn costume you've been holding on to for months.

No idea why we're talking about chicken costumes? Extremely confused why this is news? Let us break it down for you.

Julie Persons Photography / Getty Images

Recently, a few news outlets reported that the CDC had warned people not to dress up their chickens in Halloween costumes due to the risk of infection with salmonella bacteria.

CDC warns against Halloween costumes for chickens https://t.co/7JP1U3jgUm

It all started when ABC published a story (which has since been corrected) about a strain of multidrug-resistant salmonella found in raw chicken products that has sickened 92 people in 29 states. News of a foodborne illness isn't that surprising these days, but the outbreak is real. Things got weird when the topic of Halloween, and chicken costumes, got involved.

In the earlier version of the article, ABC reported that the CDC had advised people against dressing up chickens in Halloween costumes, based on the idea that a person might come in contact with harmful bacteria (like salmonella) on a chicken when dressing one in a costume. They also interviewed a woman who apparently really likes to dress her chickens up in sweaters during Halloween and was pretty upset about this health advisory.

In a tweet with a link to the article, ABC wrote, "The CDC is asking pet owners to refrain from dressing up their chickens this year due to a particular strain of salmonella."

Here's the thing: There wasn't actually any official warning from the CDC about chicken costumes. (Trust me; I looked.) Nevertheless, the chicken costume warning was picked up by a few other outlets. It caused some confusion and obviously sadness, because who doesn't love a cute little chicken costume?

It turns out that these reports were false and the CDC was never against chicken costumes. They just want you to be careful when handling live chickens and to wash your hands after you do so.

"Despite news reports to the contrary, the [CDC] has not warned people against dressing chickens in Halloween costumes," the CDC wrote in an announcement. So no, they were never coming for your tiny cowgirl hats or mini feather boas."However, we do advise people with backyard or pet chickens to handle them carefully to keep their family and their chickens safe and healthy," the CDC wrote. They just want people to take basic measures to prevent infection with salmonella, which causes an illness called salmonellosis. The symptoms of salmonellosis can include fevers, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. It usually resolves on its own but rarely, salmonellosis can lead to complications and require hospitalization. You can get salmonella from chickens in several different ways, including touching or handling the live birds, according to the CDC. You can prevent infection by washing your hands with soap and water after touching live chickens and keeping them out of your home. The CDC warns against snuggling with or kissing chickens or putting them near your face. Also, children under 5 years of age shouldn't handle chickens because younger kids are more vulnerable to infections carried by live poultry. But if you want to dress your poultry up in costumes for the trick-or-treaters, go right on ahead. Check out the CDC's website for more on staying safe from salmonella when eating poultry.
Catherine Falls Commercial / Getty Images / Via gettyimages.com

"Despite news reports to the contrary, the [CDC] has not warned people against dressing chickens in Halloween costumes," the CDC wrote in an announcement. So no, they were never coming for your tiny cowgirl hats or mini feather boas.

"However, we do advise people with backyard or pet chickens to handle them carefully to keep their family and their chickens safe and healthy," the CDC wrote.

They just want people to take basic measures to prevent infection with salmonella, which causes an illness called salmonellosis. The symptoms of salmonellosis can include fevers, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. It usually resolves on its own but rarely, salmonellosis can lead to complications and require hospitalization. You can get salmonella from chickens in several different ways, including touching or handling the live birds, according to the CDC.

You can prevent infection by washing your hands with soap and water after touching live chickens and keeping them out of your home. The CDC warns against snuggling with or kissing chickens or putting them near your face. Also, children under 5 years of age shouldn't handle chickens because younger kids are more vulnerable to infections carried by live poultry. But if you want to dress your poultry up in costumes for the trick-or-treaters, go right on ahead.

Check out the CDC's website for more on staying safe from salmonella when eating poultry.

The reactions to all of this chicken costume drama on Twitter were pretty great.

I have found the offending "erroneous media report" and the accompanying video includes this incredible cover photo in case u need some inpiration https://t.co/akTTn19cOL https://t.co/RhbIuIbXcY

Wow @CDCgov is a real party pooper. 1st it was "don't kiss your chickens" then "don't let them in the house" now it's no #halloween costumes for chickens? Well my girls will be wearing tutus this year-I'll be sure to wash my hands afterwards #tututuesday https://t.co/S00UhxMMPs https://t.co/JLVs5sqpxF

An important message, certainly, but please see the first photo. It makes a powerful counterargument. https://t.co/DykhHa21fr

A little last minute, don't ya think @CDCgov Where am I gonna find a good chicken costume on #HalloweenEve https://t.co/4FVHBNOhav via @GoogleNews

So happy Halloween to you and all of the chickens out there who just want to show off their Halloween spirit!

Fernando Trabanco Fotografía / Getty Images

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