What it is, who is at risk, and how to protect yourself
©1994 Melissa Kaplan
The most common source of salmonellosis is through the ingestion of contaminated food, especially chicken and eggs. Salmonellosis from reptiles is on the rise due to both the increased occurrence of reptiles as pets and due to the fact that so many are not cared for properly and owners are misled by the myth that reptiles are easy to care for animals, thus neglect to take proper steps to reduce risk of bacterial and parasite infection.
Routes Of Transmission And Other Sources Of Salmonellosis
Should Avoid Contact With Reptiles?
If in doubt about any condition or treatment you or a household member is undergoing, consult your physician as to its effect on immune status. Consult your physician if you or any family member develops diarrhea which lasts for more than a day.
What To Do To Avoid Becoming Infected Or Acting As A Carrier
After handling any reptile be sure and wash hands with soap and hot water
Wash thoroughly for at least 30 seconds; an antibacterial soap is preferable
Washing with water only is ineffective in eliminating Salmonella
Keep reptiles out of kitchens and away from any surfaces where human food is stored, prepared or served
Do not use kitchen sinks to clean reptile accessories or caging materials
Do not touch food for human consumption after handling any reptiles or their accessories
Do not touch dishes, pots, pans or other utensils used for human food after touching any reptile or reptile accessory
Keep reptile enclosures, water and food bowls and surfaces as clean as possible
Do not permit unsupervised handling of reptiles by children under 12 years old
Teach children to wash hands thoroughly after handling any reptile
Do not handle any reptile or their caging materials with open cuts, lesions (sores) on ones hands unless such cuts are well covered with dressings; rubber gloves are recommended.
Avoid splashes to face when washing reptile enclosures and accessories
If splashing and frequent handling is unavoidable, consider wearing goggles and face-mask protection as well as surgical gloves
Do not use bathtubs or shower stalls for reptile-related operations unless thoroughly disinfected afterwards
Consult your pharmacist, physician, veterinarian or other health or pet care professional for recommendations on soaps and other products useful for disinfecting hands and surfaces
Reptiles should not be kept in any child-care facility where toddlers and pre-schoolers are cared for
Reptiles kept in classrooms should not be handled unless appropriate handwashing and clean-up facilities are available and made accessible to children and staff
Disinfectant lotions, pump sprays or similar products should be carried whenever reptiles are going to be handled in the field, in the classroom, at swap meets or other locations where handwashing facilities may be absent
Need to update a veterinary or herp society/rescue listing?
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© 1994-2013 Melissa Kaplan or as otherwise noted by other authors of articles on this site