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Archives: Reptiles

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US Turtle Laws

Posted in Reptiles
Turtles are notorious Salmonella vectors. Because of that, various jurisdictions have rules limiting their sale, particularly the sale of small turtles (i.e. those that young kids are more likely to handle and try to put in their mouths). A recent publication from the CDC’s Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support is a Menu… Continue Reading

Rat bite fever death

Posted in Reptiles
A recent rat bite fever death in a six-month-old Pennsylvania baby raises several issues that parents need to consider. The child died of meningitis and myocarditis (inflammation of the heart) caused by the bacterium Streptobacillus moniliformis. This bacterium is present in the mouths of virtually all rats, and is the cause of rat bite fever.… Continue Reading

Turtles and botulism

Posted in Reptiles
As reported on barfblog.com (with, as ever, an entertaining title: You see a cute turtle, I see a bug factory: Infant botulism from C. butyricum) a recent paper in the journal Epidemiology and Infection (Shelley et al. 2015) reports an unusual turtle-associated disease. When we think about turtles and infections (especially infections of young kids),… Continue Reading

Reptile-associated salmonellosis in Minnesota

Posted in Reptiles
A recent paper in Zoonoses and Public Health (Whitten et al, 2014) describes reptile-associated salmonellosis cases in Minnesota between 1996-2011. Like similar reports, the data underestimate the problem because it’s thought that for every documented case, approximately 30 cases go undiagnosed. Regardless, there are some useful findings. Twelve to 30 cases of reptile-associated salmonellosis were… Continue Reading

Salmonella from bearded dragons…Canadian style

Posted in Reptiles
Not surprisingly (since bacteria don’t respect borders), the Salmonella Cotham outbreak in the US associated with bearded dragons has also affected people in Canada. Nine cases of human salmonellosis associated with this rare Salmonella strain have been identified, many with a link to bearded dragons. It’s not particularly remarkable, but should be yet another reminder… Continue Reading

Deja vu…Salmonella and feeder mice

Posted in Reptiles
In some ways, it doesn’t surprise me because it’s happened many times before. However, you’d think that, at some point, things would start to improve. Apparently not. The US CDC is reporting yet another outbreak of salmonellosis associated with contact with feeder mice, that is, mice produced commercially to feed to pet reptiles. Sadly, this… Continue Reading

Salmonella outbreak from bearded dragons

Posted in Reptiles
The US CDC is reporting yet another multistate Salmonella outbreak linked to reptiles. This one is an outbreak of Salmonella Cotham that, as of April 21, has infected at least 132 people in 31 states. The story is pretty similar to other reptile-associated Salmonella incidents. 58% of infected individuals are kids five years of age… Continue Reading

Things not to do with reptiles

Posted in Reptiles
I would have thought this would fall under the realm of common sense, but as the saying goes: Common sense is like deodorant, the people that need it the most don’t use it. A recent report out of Scotland is warning people not to kiss their pet reptiles, in response to four people who were… Continue Reading

More on classroom reptiles

Posted in Reptiles
Sometimes, people send me links to articles because they think I’d be interested in them. Sometimes, they do it to see what kind of response they can evoke. I’m not sure which one this was: I was directed by a couple of people to a recent post of PLOS’s blog about snakes in classrooms. (I… Continue Reading

Turtles and Salmonella…no surprise there

Posted in Reptiles
Pet aquatic turtles have been implicated in three outbreaks of salmonellosis involving 43 US states over the past year and a half.  Disappointing, but not surprising. Disappointing, obviously, because people are getting sick. Disappointing also because these outbreaks have occurred over and over, despite availability of good information on how to reduce the risks. It’s… Continue Reading

Pet-store python kills 2 young boys

Posted in Reptiles
This isn’t a zoonotic disease issue, but certainly relates to ongoing discussions about keeping exotic pets. A python from an exotic animal store in New Brunswick apparently escaped its enclosure and found its way into an apartment above the store. There, the python killed two boys, 5 and 7 years of age, possibly while they… Continue Reading

Sssnakes and Sssalmonella

Posted in Reptiles
The fact that Salmonella and reptiles go together is old news. I often get questions about testing reptiles to see if they are Salmonella carriers and I tell people not to bother since even with a negative result, I’d consider the animal to be positive. A recent study in the Journal of Zoo and Wildlife… Continue Reading

Turtles, Santa and pre-Christmas returns

Posted in Reptiles
I received an email from a relative the other day with a pet question. I get lots of these, but the surprising part is this relative doesn’t have any pets (and I think is generally of the opinion that pets are okay, as long as they’re not hers). She was asking about turtles. As a… Continue Reading

Salmonella in zoo education reptiles

Posted in Reptiles
There was a picture in the weekend edition of the Guelph Tribune of a 3-year-old girl with a large python wrapped around her as part of a nature show put on by the Guelph Lake Nature Centre. While I’m certain I’ll face more wrath from the keep-reptiles-in-schools group that is currently bashing me on the… Continue Reading

Reptile rage

Posted in Reptiles
I get a lot of emails about this blog. Some are complementary, some… well… not so much. When it comes to the latter group, the most common (and often the most grammatically-challenged) group is raw meat feeders. They’re a constant source of interesting comments about my intelligence and other aspects of my life. Some actually provide… Continue Reading

Elementary school reptile club: good, bad or ugly

Posted in Reptiles
Today’s Toronto Star has an article about a reptile club in a Toronto Elementary School. Teacher Jim Karkavitsas runs a session every day that teaches students about a range of reptiles. His menagerie has expanded from one snake five years ago to more than 40 different species in his classroom. Some are loaned out to… Continue Reading

Salmonella in baby from pet reptile

Posted in Reptiles
.A five-month-old Britich baby was hospitalized with salmonellosis that was presumably acquired from a family pet. The baby developed severe diarrhea and was rushed to hospital. Fortunately, the child has recovered, something that’s far from assured in such cases, since salmonellosis can be life-threatening in infants. As expected, an investigation followed the diagnosis of salmonellosis.… Continue Reading

Pet turtles and Salmonella…why am I not surprised?

Posted in Reptiles
The CDC has announced an investigation of three multistate outbreaks of salmonellosis linked to pet turtles. At last report, 66 affected people had been identified, and since most outbreaks like this only identify a minority of cases, it’s safe to assume there are many others. Three different types of Salmonella have been implicated; S. Sandiego, S.… Continue Reading

Salmonella from turtles…again

Posted in Reptiles
Yet another outbreak of salmonellosis traced back to pet turtles has been investigated by CDC and Pennsylvania’s State Health Department. Pet turtles are notorious Salmonella vectors, for several reasons, including the fact that small aquatic turtles very commonly carry the bacterium, they are marketed towards young kids (who are increased risk of infection), and people… Continue Reading

Bearded dragon leads to gravy Salmonella contamination

Posted in Reptiles
No, not gravy made from bearded dragons (a type of reptile), but foodborne Salmonella with a link to the reptile. Reptiles are an important source of Salmonella, which is why standard guidelines recommend that high-risk people (e.g. children less than 5 years of age, elderly individuals, people with compromised immune systems, pregnant women) not have… Continue Reading

More snake smuggling

Posted in Reptiles
I avoided the "snakes on a plane" title, as ever since the (bad) Samuel L. Jackson movie came out, every reptile smuggling headline seems to use use it. Regardless, would you like to be on a long trans-Atlantic flight with 247 smuggled animals, including a collection of venomous vipers? Probably not. Fortunately for passengers on… Continue Reading

Never upset the local snake charmer

Posted in Reptiles
Maybe the Occupy movement should take some tips from an Indian man who expressed his frustration with government corruption by releasing venomous snakes into a government office. Upset by the slow pace of the bureaucracy and demands for bribes, the man (the local snake charmer) dumped 40 snakes, including 4 cobras, onto the floor of… Continue Reading

Illegal alligators attract women? Who knew?

Posted in Reptiles
I guess I’m lucky I’m married since I’m obviously out of touch with the best ways to attract women. Unlike Dewayne Yarborough of Ford Heights, Illinois, I didn’t know that a 4-foot-long alligator is a "chick magnet." His reason for keeping the reptile was that he claimed it attracted women (I kid you not).  While… Continue Reading