COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its latest numbers of salmonella outbreaks linked to live poultry Wednesday.
The CDC says live baby chicks are a carrier of these germs, which are particularly dangerous to children.
In 2012, the CDC reported eight salmonella outbreaks with 32 people sick in Missouri.
Genalee Alexander from the Columbia and Boone County Department of Health says looking at an animal isn't enough to know if touching that animal is a salmonella risk.
Especially this time of year, when parents often give gifts of baby chicks.
"Children are most at risk for salmonella. I know around Easter time baby chicks can be a fun gift, but parents need to be aware that there can be dangers associated with children playing around baby chicks," Alexander said.
Nearly 40 percent of all the salmonella cases were in children younger than 10.
Kids' immune systems are stilldeveloping, making them more susceptible to the illness.
Bourne Feed and Supply owner Melissa Quast said small steps can help prevent the illness and keep baby chicks healthy.
"Washing your hands and using a little germicide and keeping your hen house clean and your chickens healthy is really the best preventative medicine," Quast said.
Since 1990, 45 different salmonella outbreaks due to live poultry caused nearly 16,000 people to get sick in the United States.