Back

REPTILES AND SALMONELLA

First broadcast on www.provet.co.uk on July 26th 2000.


This information is provided by Provet for educational purposes only.

You should seek the advice of your veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.

There has been increased concern expressed recently about the risk of transmission of disease (especially Salmonella) from pet reptiles to humans...but are the concerns justified ?

It is true that the organism Salmonella can be transmitted between animals and humans (so it is an important  zoonosis). In 1999 over 17,250 cases of human salmonellosis were reported to the Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS) and Communicable Disease Surveillance Unit in the UK. Only 7 of these cases were thought to have been contracted from reptiles.

In humans the most frequent types of Salmonella that cause infection in humans are Salmonella enteritidis and Salmonella typhimurium , two serotypes which are rarely found in reptiles. However, other types of Salmonella are found in reptiles and these should be regarded as being potentially transmissible to humans. 

The risk of contracting salmonellosis from reptiles would appear to be low, but young children and anyone with poor immune function should probably not handle animals (including reptiles) which might be carrying the disease. In addition, basic hygiene procedures should always be practiced and children and others should wear protective gloves, or vigorously wash hands with soap and water after handling all pets (not just reptiles), especially before eating or handling food intended for human consumption.

 

Copyright (c) 1999, 2000 Provet. All rights reserved. Email: info@provet.co.uk