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Salmonella in reptiles
17 April 2019
It is common for many reptile pets to carry salmonella germs in their intestinal tracts. Reptiles can shed these germs in their stool. Your pet may appear to be healthy to you as these germs do not usefully affect the reptile. However, if a human picks up the germ, it can cause serious health issues.
Salmonella can cause illnesses including diarrhea and vomiting, which can cause severe dehydration. If left untreated, the infection can also spread into the bloodstream and nervous system which may cause serious illnesses. Salmonella is usually picked up by people when handling their pet or cleaning the enclosure and then not thoroughly washing the hands. They may then spread the disease by touching their mouths or food they are eating.
Children under five years old, adults over 65 years old, pregnant women or people will low immune systems are most at risk to the infection. It is not possible to remove the germ from reptiles. So to prevent the germ being spread, it is important for the carer to keep up good hygiene practice.
Follow these steps for safety:
- Wash your hands thoroughly after handling, feeding your reptile or cleaning the tank
- Encourage children to also wash hands and do not allow them to handle the reptile without supervision
- Keep reptiles out of food prep and eating areas such as the kitchen and dining room
- Don’t bathe the reptile in a family used kitchen or bathroom sink or tub
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