A team of Iowa State University researchers has received a federal grant to study ways to reduce infections of Campylobacter a food-borne bacteria spread mostly through undercooked chicken.

The $2.5 million grant announced Friday is from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It will help the researchers develop new methods to manage Campylobacter, a bacteria carried primarily by poultry. It’s difficult to track and contain the bacteria because infected chickens show no signs of illness.

Campylobacter is a leading cause of food-borne illness in the United States, causing an estimated 800,000 illnesses a year.

The research team aims to identify risk factors that affect infection among live birds and contamination of poultry carcasses. Their goal is to work on vaccines, management of litter on poultry farms and other methods to help reduce infections.