"Many people assume that a bird with Salmonella looks sick, but that's really not the case." Megin Nichols, a CDC veterinarian, told CNN following an outbreak last year. The birds carry the bacteria on their feathers, on their feet and in their faeces. Symptoms of Salmonella begin 12 to 72 hours after infection and include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. This can take about four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment. However, anyone who has severe diarrhea may need to be hospitalized. Thirty-four people were hospitalized as part of this latest outbreak.
Those who are very young, very old or have a weakened immune system are the most at risk for complications and serious illnesses.
The tendency of these birds has probably contributed to the rise of these diseases, Nichols said, as more people want to know where their food comes from and they provide for themselves.  Before deciding to keep chickens, Nichols suggests finding out about caring for the animals. The CDC offers some advice to help you master some best practices, as well as the US Department of Agriculture's Birds Biosafety page.
But the basics begin with washing hands with soap and water after touching the birds or anything in their environment. Equipment containing food and water bowls may also be contaminated with the bacteria.
To prevent the bacteria from being tracked elsewhere, use a separate pair of shoes to take care of the chickens and not carry them in your home. And of course, keep the birds outside so they can not trace bacteria back to your home.
Children under the age of 5 should be supervised when handling these animals as they are particularly susceptible to the infection. They often place their hands in their mouths. Make sure you teach them how to handle the animals.
If you collect chicken eggs, wash them well before use and cook them thoroughly before eating.