Kids Can Get Salmonella From Their Reptile Pets Interview with:
Femi Oshin
Consultant in Communicable Disease Control
Devon, Cornwall & Somerset PHE Centre and
Dan Murphy
Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Health Protection Team,
Cornwall, UK

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Salmonella disease are significant infections, particularly so in children. Ownership of reptiles kept as pets has risen sharply in recent years, as has Salmonella infections in children. Our study found children living in homes with a reptile as a pet are more likely to require hospitalisation from Salmonella infection, and the risk appears to increase with decreasing age of the child.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: We think it is important that GPs are mindful of the higher likelihood of serious invasive Salmonella infections and/or the need for hospitalisation in children under 5 years living in households with reptiles as pets. Also, that paediatricians consider reptile ownership in the household in children under 5 years presenting with invasive Salmonella disease, especially of a more exotic strain type.

Patients/parents of children under 5 years, who already own reptiles kept in the household, should look into restricting their reptiles access to the same space/environment as their child. In families with children under 5 years looking to get reptiles to keep in the household, they should consider holding off on that until the child is past the oral exploration stage, stopped crawling and old enough to wash their own hands.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: We know the industry (of reptile ownership as pets) is growing and also acknowledge that owning pets, including reptiles, is an important part of creating a stimulating and educational environment for the growing child, so future research should focus on developing interventions to reduce, modify or eliminate Salmonella shedding in household reptiles


Reptile associated salmonellosis in children aged under 5 years in South West England

Dan Murphy, Femi Oshin

Arch Dis Child archdischild-2014-306134Published Online First: 22 December 2014 doi:10.1136/archdischild-2014-306134





Last Updated on December 23, 2014 by Marie Benz MD FAAD