Salmonella enterica bacteria become more virulent and therefore better at causing disease in the micrograity environment of space.
PHOTO: Courtesy of CDC.
Salmonella enterica bacteria become more virulent and therefore better at causing disease in the micrograity environment of space.
Now playing
01:09
Salmonella 101: What you need to know
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
02:13
Why losing weight might protect you from Covid-19
A selection of fruit ready to eat are displayed at a fruit and vegetable shop on April 12, 2016 in Lille, northern France. / AFP / DENIS CHARLET        (Photo credit should read DENIS CHARLET/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: DENIS CHARLET/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
A selection of fruit ready to eat are displayed at a fruit and vegetable shop on April 12, 2016 in Lille, northern France. / AFP / DENIS CHARLET (Photo credit should read DENIS CHARLET/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:27
New diet can save lives and the planet, study says
this is your brain on pain health orig_00001025.jpg
PHOTO: CNN
this is your brain on pain health orig_00001025.jpg
Now playing
01:39
This is your brain on pain
Now playing
01:42
Here's why you can't stop eating pizza, ice cream and chocolate chip cookies
Now playing
01:10
Trouble sleeping? This may be why
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
02:40
The reality of wine's health benefits
PHOTO: shutterstock
Now playing
01:49
These foods aren't as healthy as you think
Americans are still too fat according to a new study from JAMA. Two in three of Americans are registering as overweight or obese.
PHOTO: Shutterstock
Americans are still too fat according to a new study from JAMA. Two in three of Americans are registering as overweight or obese.
Now playing
01:15
What is obesity?
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
01:17
Why your BMI matters
LONDON - MAY 16:  In this photo illustration a cigarette is seen burning on May 16, 2007 in London. Businesses and shops are gearing up for the introduction of the smoking ban on July 1 in England after similar bans have been introduced in Ireland, Scotland and Wales.  (Photo Illustration by Bruno Vincent/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Bruno Vincent/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images
LONDON - MAY 16: In this photo illustration a cigarette is seen burning on May 16, 2007 in London. Businesses and shops are gearing up for the introduction of the smoking ban on July 1 in England after similar bans have been introduced in Ireland, Scotland and Wales. (Photo Illustration by Bruno Vincent/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:07
What tobacco does to your health (2017)
PHOTO: Photo Illustration/Thinkstock
Now playing
01:12
World blood pressure rises (2016)
Woman pointing to area on mammogram x-ray, close-up
PHOTO: Getty Images/File
Woman pointing to area on mammogram x-ray, close-up
Now playing
01:19
Breast cancer: Know the facts
A surgeon sitting in front of screens of a Focal One device performs a robot-assisted prostate tumorectomy using ultrasound imaging on April 10, 2014 at the Edouard Herriot hospital in Lyon, center France. Focal One is the first robotic HIFU (high intensity focused ultrasound) device dedicated to the focal approach for prostate cancer therapy. According to EDAP TMS SA, a leader in therapeutic ultrasound, it combines the three essential components to efficiently perform a focal treatment: state-of-the-art imaging to localized tumors with the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) combined with real-time ultrasound, utmost precision of robotic HIFU treatment focused only on identified targeted cancer areas, and immediate feedback on treatment efficacy utilizing Contrast-Enhanced Ultrasound Imaging. AFP PHOTO / JEFF PACHOUD        (Photo credit should read JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
A surgeon sitting in front of screens of a Focal One device performs a robot-assisted prostate tumorectomy using ultrasound imaging on April 10, 2014 at the Edouard Herriot hospital in Lyon, center France. Focal One is the first robotic HIFU (high intensity focused ultrasound) device dedicated to the focal approach for prostate cancer therapy. According to EDAP TMS SA, a leader in therapeutic ultrasound, it combines the three essential components to efficiently perform a focal treatment: state-of-the-art imaging to localized tumors with the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) combined with real-time ultrasound, utmost precision of robotic HIFU treatment focused only on identified targeted cancer areas, and immediate feedback on treatment efficacy utilizing Contrast-Enhanced Ultrasound Imaging. AFP PHOTO / JEFF PACHOUD (Photo credit should read JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:21
What is prostate cancer?
PHOTO: Argosy
Now playing
00:53
What is Parkinson's disease?
Now playing
01:38
How Alzheimer's destroys the brain

Story highlights

212 people across 44 states have gotten sick since February

The CDC has identified nine previous outbreaks due to live poultry since 2011

(CNN) —  

“Always wash your hands after handling live poultry.” That’s the reminder from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week due to another outbreak of salmonella from backyard chickens.

Two hundred twelve people have gotten sick with salmonella since February due to poultry, the agency said Monday. The illnesses have been reported in 44 states.

This is the 10th time since 2011 the CDC has announced an outbreak due to live poultry. According to the agency, 70 salmonella outbreaks linked to live poultry have been declared since 2000.

“A lot of people perceive a bird with salmonella will look sick, but that is really not the case,” Dr. Megin Nichols, a CDC veterinarian, told CNN after an outbreak last year. The birds carry the bacteria on their feathers, on their feet and in their droppings.

Symptoms of salmonella begin 12 to 72 hours after a person is infected and include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramping. This can last about four to seven days, and most individuals recover without treatment. However, those who develop severe diarrhea may need to be hospitalized. Thirty-four people have been hospitalized as part of this latest outbreak.

Those who are very young, who are very old or who have compromised immune systems are most at risk for complications and severe cases of illness.

The trendiness of these birds has probably contributed to the rise in these illnesses, Nichols said, as more people want to know where their food comes and are providing it for themselves.

Before committing to keeping chickens, Nichols suggests reading up on caring for the animals. The CDC offers some advice to help you master a few best practices, as does the US Department of Agriculture on its Biosecurity for Birds page.

But the basics start with always washing hands with soap and water after touching the birds or anything in their environment. Equipment including food and water bowls can be contaminated with the bacteria, too.

To avoid tracking the bacteria elsewhere, use a separate pair of shoes for taking care of the chickens and don’t wear them inside your home. And, of course, keep the birds outside, too, so they don’t track bacteria into your home.

Follow CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter

  • See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

Children younger than 5 years old should be supervised whenever they are handling these animals as they are particularly susceptible to the infection because they often put their hands in their mouths. Be sure to teach them how to handle the animals.

If you collect your chicken’s eggs, wash them well before use and cook them thoroughly before eating.

Those who are sick in this latest outbreak told federal health investigators their chicks and ducklings came from multiple sources, including feed supply stores, websites, hatcheries and from other people. The CDC is reminding feed stores and mail-order hatcheries that sell the animals to take steps to take to prevent salmonella in flocks.