Salmonella Outbreak Associated With Exposure To Aquatic FrogsMain Category: Infectious Diseases / Bacteria / Viruses
Article Date: 12 Mar 2013
African dwarf frogs, which are commonly kept as household pets, have been associated with the infection of thousands of children with Salmonella, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The 2008 to 2011 nationwide outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium was investigated by a group of researchers, they published their findings in the journal Pediatrics. CDC scientists have been following the link between pet frogs and Salmonella infection closely since 2009.
They analyzed a total of 376 cases of the infection across 44 states. Most of the cases were among children under the age of 10 (more than two thirds).
Of the 367 cases, a third were hospitalized - thankfully none died.
114 of the patients were asked whether they had any recent exposure to frogs. 61 percent reported exposure to frogs, of whom 79% reported exposure to African dwarf frogs in particular.
Surprisingly, not many of the patients knew the health risks associated with having reptiles and amphibians as pets.
They identified the source of the outbreak to be a breeding facility in California that distributed the frogs nationwide, thus spreading the infectious bacteria rapidly across the country. The researchers still don't quite know how the frogs became infected with Salmonella.
Having exotic pets carries health risks
Keeping African dwarf frogs as pets increases one's risk of developing Salmonellosis.
The lead author of the study, Shauna Mettee Zarecki, said:
"Families just weren't aware that there was a risk from these frogs or reptiles or amphibians in general. Any amphibians, particularly these frogs, should not be in homes where there are children less than 5 years old."
"There have been a number of outbreaks associated with a variety of pets, and amphibians have been known to carry salmonella. We always try to tell people that reptiles like turtles and snakes are a significant source of potential infection. But this is the first time they have been linked to an illness on this scale."
The finding highlights how important it is for parents to fully understand the health risks associated with keeping exotic pets, such as African dwarf frogs.
The authors stress that if people do wish to keep them as pets, it is imperative that they wash their hands on a regular basis and maintain a clean tank - a good way to prevent infection.
Children under 5 are at an increased risk of infection and should completely avoid contact with the frogs and their habitat.
About Salmonella and salmonellosisSalmonella infection, is called salmonellosis; it is a bacterial disease of the intestinal tract. Salmonella belongs to a group of bacteria that cause enteric fever, gastroenteritis, food poisoning, typhoid fever and other illnesses. The infection usually affects people for about a week, although sometimes it can be so severe that hospitalization is necessary.
In most cases, people become infected by consuming contaminated eggs, poultry, meat, water and some other foods.
Approximately 1.4 million people in the United Sates are affected with salmonellosis annually. According to the CDC, there are 500 deaths caused by Salmonella infection every year.
There are over 2,300 serotypes of bacteria in the Salmonella family. They are tiny, microscopic one-celled organisms. Over 50% of all human infections in the United States are caused by Salmonella enteritidis and Salmonella typhimurium. Some strains that exist in animals can make humans ill, and vice-versa. The bacteria live in the gut of infected animals and humans.
Written by Joseph Nordqvist
Copyright: MediLexicon International Ltd
Original article posted on Medical News Today.
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