That was the first headline that popped up on Yahoo today as I popped on line to check our email after lunch. Sometimes I don't know what to do with information like that... after all, we always have chickens, lizards (geckos, margouillats, chameleons, etc.,), hedgehogs, gerboas, turtles, desert tortoises, parrots, finches, sparrows... around at any given time. Since when have chickens been classed as an exotic pet - I know several farmers that would find THAT amusing! Any and all of these have been "exotic pets" at our house - depending on the latest passion of our children and what creatures have been convenient to catch. And, we most definitely have children under the age of 5.
Reading something like this used to either terrify me or make me feel guilty; after all, what parent wants to see their child suffer, especially if the suffering is preventable. However, I think I'm learning that as a parent, I'm not able to protect my child from everything, pain and suffering are inevitable parts of this life and avoiding all such potential "danger" doesn't really protect or teach them anything. I can either program robots who do what they are told because they've not yet realized or been given any other choice or I can teach these little people to begin thinking through consequences (I'm talking age appropriately, here), developing good habits and to choose obedience to remain in relationship and avoid painful consequences.
So while I appreciate the advice of medical personal, personally, I think I'm much better off investing my time in teaching habits of cleanliness for during and after playing with any of our menagerie of critters, providing supervision so that we don't find Elsie Mae sharing a snack of millet from the same feeder as the chicks, and trusting that their little bodies are building immunity the way God created them to while letting our children experience a wealth of activities (under surveillance) to enrich and broaden their worlds, teach them independence, help them learn to choose obedience and letting them learn to respect, appreciate and wonder at the magnificent and amazing world God has created.