Reptiles, Amphibians and Salmonella
Reptiles and amphibians make great pets, and while it is very important to understand how best to keep these exotic pets healthy, it is perhaps more important to know how to keep yourself healthy while caring for these amazing creatures.
Reptiles and amphibians like turtles, lizards and frogs can carry Salmonella bacteria, which can cause severe illness in humans. Among the outbreaks reported, most of those affected with illnesses were young children less than 10-years-old. Some of these illnesses were so severe they required hospitalization. It may not be necessary for you to get rid of your pets if you have young children, but it does mean that if you have reptiles or amphibians you should take care to handle them responsibly. Reptiles and amphibians are often carriers of Salmonella, in which case, they appear perfectly clean and healthy, yet the germs are on their bodies, their cages, aquariums and terrariums, the water they swim in, etc. In fact, the germs can spread just about anywhere and on anything, including your hands and clothing when you touch them or clean their cages. For this reason, anything that reptiles and amphibians touch should be considered contaminated.
Therefore, proper handling procedure requires you to wash your hands immediately after touching a frog, lizard or turtle or any area the animals have touched.
- Please wash hands with soap and warm water immediately after touching a reptile or amphibian, or anything they have touched.
- Do not house reptiles and amphibians in homes with children younger than 5 years old.
- Reptile and amphibian habitats and contents should be sanitized outside of the home, and do not dispose of water in household sinks or bathtubs.
- Promptly remove and wash clothing the reptile or amphibian might have touched or that may have come into with its effects.
- Clean and sanitize any surfaces that have been in contact with reptiles or amphibians or their habitat using soap or a disinfectant.