The CDC recently has linked 611 cases of Salmonellosis with backyard poultry. While these cases are not cause for widespread alarm or banning of chickens altogether, they serve as a reminder to practice good hygiene around the birds. Their waste may harbor Salmonella and E. coli, so handwashing is important when you come in from the coop. Exercise common sense in handling your birds, as you would with other animals.
Washing your hands is one of the top ways experts suggest to protect yourself.
After you handle live poultry, feed live poultry, or touch its backyard coop or living space,wash your hands vigorously for 20 seconds or more with soap and water, then dry them with a clean towel. Have an alcohol-based hand sanitizer handy in case you can’t get to a sink right away, says Elizabeth Scott, PhD, co-director of the Center for Hygiene and Health at Simmons College in Boston.
“If possible, wash your hands outdoors, not at the kitchen sink,” Scott says. “You do not want to be rinsing salmonella off your hands and into the kitchen sink, and you don’t want to use the kitchen sponge or dishrag either. The salmonella can proliferate in both.”
You should also clean any feeding dishes or other equipment outside. Do not bring them indoors. (from WebMD)
These are fairly simple measures that you can take to ensure health and enjoy your chickens.