Last updated : 17/04/2007
This page is indexed on our home page under Aspect: 4. Information & care sheets and the Section: Health Issues
Zoonotic Diseases (from reptiles to humans)
Zoonotic are diseases are those that can be passed from animal to animal--thus from your pets to you. Salmonella, toxoplasmosis, Lyme disease, rabies, and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, better known as "mad cow disease") and Bird Flu are some of the most publicized zoonoses.
By far the most common decease that humans get from reptiles is Salmonella. However the simple truth is that you stand more chance of being infected by
But good hygiene and sensible awareness is however required. (See "SALMONELLA FACT SHEET" below, from Ark Reptile Group)
According to the New York Department of Health, Salmonella is "a bacterial infection that generally infects the intestinal tract and occasionally the blood stream. Symptoms include mild to severe diarrhea, fever and occasionally vomiting. Symptoms generally appear one to three days after exposure. It is spread by eating or drinking contaminated food or by contact with infected people, animals and reptiles."
Recommendations for Preventing Transmission of Salmonella from Reptiles to Humans (USA)
Pet store owners, veterinarians, and pediatricians should provide information to owners and potential purchasers of reptiles about the risk for acquiring salmonellosis from reptiles.
Persons should always wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling reptiles or reptile cages.
Pet reptiles should not be kept in child care centers.
Pet reptiles should not be allowed to roam freely throughout the home or living area.
Pet reptiles should be kept out of kitchens and other food-preparation areas to prevent contamination. Kitchen sinks should not be used to bathe reptiles or to wash their dishes, cages, or aquariums. If bathtubs are used for these purposes, they should be cleaned thoroughly and disinfected with bleach.
The main thing is be aware of the dangers and act responsibly. Wash hands with soap and water after handling your reptiles and give them a bath now and again in luke warm water (80-85º F / 26-29º C), shoulder-deep bath of diluted Betadine (povidone-iodine): add enough Betadine to water to make it the color of medium tea.
In the United States, Salmonella causes an estimated 1.4 million episodes of infection and 400 deaths annually in humans. This is for all sources of infection. (source)
Reported cases of reptile associated salmonellosis. (RAS): Approximately 50,000 cases are reported annually in the United States. (Source) This represent 3.5% of the total.
Salmonella spp. can be isolated from healthy dogs and cats at rates of up to 36% and 18%, respectively. (Source)
From 1990 to 2000, a total of 339 reptile-associated Salmonella cases were reported in Sweden. (Source)
Activists are using salmonella transmissions from reptiles as reason to ban reptile trade. See bottom of page
Melissa Kaplan provides a good introduction to the subject. Link to this article
Synopsis: There are several diseases that can be transmitted from pet reptiles and amphibians to humans. However, by practicing good sanitation and personal hygiene, keeping herps out of the kitchen and food preparation areas, it is possible to minimize the risk. It is also important to have all new herps examined and tested prior to introducing them to your home. Link to this article
COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES
PUBLIC HEALTH PROGRAMS AND SERVICES - DISEASE CONTROL PROGRAMS
VETERINARY PUBLIC HEALTH AND RABIES CONTROL
Overview of Zoonoses
ARK REPTILE GROUP REPTILE ASSOCIATED ZOONOSES
SALMONELLA FACT SHEET
Zoonoses.org (Home Page)
Zoonotic Epidemiological Research and Education for everyone to understand!
Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians
Veterinarian Guide : Notes on Salmonella and Reptiles:
Ronald S. Hines DVM PhD
Emerging Infectious Diseases by Frederick A. Murphy University of California, Davis, California, USA
Centers Disease Control. Frequently Asked Questions - Salmonellosis
University of Northern British Columbia Facts about Salmonellosis
Activists are using salmonella transmissions from reptiles as reason to ban reptile trade.
Reptile related diseases in humans
Last update : 17/04/2007