Protecting Yourself From #Reptile Associated Salmonella
When Peter (not his real name) bought a quarter-size green turtle from a Los Angeles street vendor for his young son Danny, he had no idea he was bringing home a tiny package of life that packed a big wallop of a disease. Within days, Danny ended up in the ICU with severe vomiting, lethargy and fever. He almost died from salmonella infection. In Texas, an HIV-positive, 45-year-old pet store employee who routinely handled reptiles was treated for severe salmonella sepsis (a serious illness that results when salmonella enters the bloodstream).
All over America, men and women, adults and kids are unknowingly trading and buying reptiles infected with salmonella. Reptiles like water turtles are often purchased at pet stores and swap meets, as well as from the black market and private reptile breeders. Many reptile sellers do not post warnings about the dangers of salmonella, even though state and federal laws require it.
What is salmonella?
According to the New York Department of Health, salmonella is "a bacterial infection that generally infects the intestinal tract and occasionally the bloodstream. 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." There is no known effective treatment for salmonella in the turtle. Even if you treat the salmonella in your pet, it returns. Most healthy adults show no symptoms of salmonella even if they are infected. But, children under five, pregnant women, the elderly, and those whose immune systems are compromised (e.g., people who have AIDS, who have had kidney transplants or who are undergoing chemotherapy) are at risk of serious illness or even death from salmonella infection. #turtles #health #salmonella #pets #animals #safety