Update May 2, 2016: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating two multi-state outbreaks of Salmonella infections associated with handling of small turtles. To date, 51 persons in 16 states have been affected, with 15 hospitalizations but no deaths.
Many people are aware that turtles and other reptiles can carry Salmonella bacteria, but not many know that amphibians can carry it, too. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported a number of outbreaks of Salmonella infection associated with handling reptiles and amphibians or their habitats. Reported outbreaks include:
In most of the outbreaks reported, the majority of illnesses occurred in children less than 10 years of age, whose illness can be severe and require hospitalization.
This doesn't mean amphibian and reptile owners should get rid of their pets. What it does mean is that amphibian and reptile handlers and owners should take precautions to protect themselves and their families. Simple, common sense measures can significantly reduce your risk of amphibian- or reptile-associated Salmonella infection, including:
2016 American Veterinary Medical Association