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Keeping any pet poses a variety of health risks regardless of whether that pet is a dog, cat, bird, or reptile. While occurring in far fewer instances than dog bites, or other pet related injuries and illness, reptile associated Salmonellosis does pose a risk to anyone that keeps or handles reptiles and amphibians. According to the Center for Disease Control(CDC) their projected data shows a significant increase in salmonella cases over the last 10 years. While some of this increase can be attributed to advances in technology, improved reporting systems, and increased physician awareness, a significant rise is due to the increased popularity of keeping reptiles and amphibians as pets.
Many organizations would have you believe that reptile associated salmonella is such a risk that possession of reptiles by the general public should be banned or significantly restricted. The CDC does NOT make that statement. Based on CDC supplied data its becomes obvious that the threat posed by keeping reptiles and amphibians is much less significant than the risks associated with owning either dogs or cats. By following the CDC recommendations below you should dramatically decrease the risk of infection to yourself and your family.
Center For Disease Control Recommendations
kingsnake.com supports the CDC recommendations and asks that you not only follow them, but you make sure that your local breeder, dealer, and pet store are aware of these recommendations as well. Education is the key to keeping the hobby of keeping reptiles and amphibians a safe and enjoyable hobby for everyone. For further information regarding reptile associated Salmonellosis at the Center for Disease Control please visit the addresses below.
- Pet store owners, veterinarians, and pediatricians should provide information to owners and potential purchasers of reptiles about the risk for acquiring salmonellosis from reptiles.
- Persons should always wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling reptiles or reptile cages.
- Persons at increased risk for infection or serious complications of salmonellosis (e.g., children aged less than 5 years and immunocompromised persons) should avoid contact with reptiles.
- Pet reptiles should be kept out of households where children aged less than 5 years or immunocompromised persons live. Families expecting a new child should remove the pet reptile from the home before the infant arrives.
- Pet reptiles should not be kept in child care centers.
- Pet reptiles should not be allowed to roam freely throughout the home or living area.
- Pet reptiles should be kept out of kitchens and other food-preparation areas to prevent contamination. Kitchen sinks should not be used to bathe reptiles or to wash their dishes, cages, or aquariums. If bathtubs are used for these purposes, they should be cleaned thoroughly and disinfected with bleach.
Below are downloadable versions of this document. This document may be reprinted and distributed by anyone. Please give one(or a stack) to your local pet store.
CDC Media Relations: Questions and Answers about Salmonellosis
Reptile-Associated Salmonellosis -- Selected States, 1996-1998
Errata for above: Vol. 48, No. 44
Reptile-Associated Salmonellosis -- Selected States, 1994-1995
Preventing Zoonotic Diseases in Immunocompromised Persons: The Role of Physicians and Veterinarians
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