TUCSON, Ariz. - Salmonella has infected 961 people across the nation so far this year. A recent strain is being linked to live poultry. There have been a handful of cases reported in Arizona.
So far, six cases of salmonella have been identified in Arizona. And when it comes to handling backyard chickens, sanitation should be priority No. 1.
On Tucson's east side, Dennis Mizer tends to his flock of chickens around the clock. It's a family affair.
“They're pretty self-sustaining," Mizer said. "My children enjoy helping me feed them. Helping me collect the eggs. Helping me take care of them."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now investigating 10 separate salmonella outbreaks across the nation.
Those infected reportedly had contact with backyard chickens.
Health expert Michael Acoba says there's still the potential risk of contracting the disease, even in places like Pima County, which has no reported cases. That's where efficient hygiene habits come into play.
For Mizer, raising chickens is more than just a mere hobby. Through the community group, Tucson Clucks, it's a chance to educate the public on the right way of handling poultry.
"Because of the health concerns, you shouldn't be holding your chicken like a baby. You shouldn't be snuggling with your chicken. You should never be kissing your chicken. As long they're able to take these steps, they can prevent the spread of disease," said Mizer.