Your baby 0-1 year

A turtle at home? Beware of the risk of salmonellosis!

A turtle at home? Beware of the risk of salmonellosis!



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Two French studies have shown that reptiles, including turtles and iguanas, can transmit salmonellosis to young children. So be careful if you have home.

  • Two studies of the Weekly Epidemiological Bulletin (BEH) confirm what several countries have already established: reptiles, although healthy, can transmit salmonellosis to young children, an infection that results in diarrhea and fever, and can in some exceptional cases to be mortal.
  • To reach these conclusions, the BEH has relied on 66 published studies on the subject over the last 20 years, which has identified 77 isolated cases of reptile exposure infections in young children, including 3 deaths. Two children died from salmonellosis, while another, less than 6 months old, died of meningitis.
  • The most frequently incriminated animals are iguanas (24) and turtles (23) followed by snakes (16) and lizards (12). Most of them are naturally carriers of salmonella, a bacterium lodged in their digestive tract and stagnant in the air and on clothing. The contamination can be done without even the child touches them.
  • The authors point out the lack of information parents who are often unaware of the risks of having a reptile at home. According to them, better information, especially in pet stores that sell these animals, would reduce the cases of contamination.
  • The opportunity also to remind the importance of the rules of hygiene: your children should always wash their hands after touching an animal.

Stéphanie Letellier

(News of the 08/01/14)

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