Worms & Germs Blog

Tag Archives: Reptiles

More Turtle-Associated Salmonellosis

Posted in Reptiles, Salmonella
In what shouldn’t come as a surprise, I guess, another pet turtle-associated multistate outbreak of Salmonella infection in people has been identified in the US. Despite the fact that the sale of small (<4 inch shell length) turtles has been banned in the US for decades, the law is widely ignored, and kids get sick… Continue Reading

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

Do headline writers actually read the articles?

Posted in Dogs
Part I Lyme disease is accompanied by enough paranoia. Bad headlines don’t help. A recent article on The Daily Mail is about Lyme disease and pets. It’s actually not a bad article, outlining some important issues. However, the headline shows a big disconnect between some good content in the article and a complete misunderstanding of… 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

Fake service animals in action

Posted in Other animals
I go on periodic rants about people abusing service animal rules to take their pets places they cannot normally go (while potentially compromising the critically important need for true service animals to have unfettered access). Sometimes, it’s nice to know I’m not the only one. A recent article (pointed out by a writer from the VIN… 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

Animal Health Laboratory Zoonotic Diseases Report

Posted in Dogs
The University of Guelph’s Animal Health Laboratory recently published a summary of selected zoonotic disease diagnoses in its monthly newsletter. It’s an interesting summary of what’s gone through the lab in the last year.  It also helps to remind us of the zoonotic potential of all of these pathogens, some of which are relatively common… 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

All I want for Christmas is hydro…and related musings

Posted in Dogs
As we were heading into our 5th day without power as a result of a nasty ice storm, the power came back on. It’s been a pain, but with the generator, fireplace and family to visit in unaffected areas, it’s more disruptive than anything. Not everyone’s that lucky. If you don’t have a generator or… 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

HIV and pets

Posted in Cats
A little knowledge can be a bad thing. We see that with zoonotic diseases. Awareness is great. However, a little bit of awareness can be a problem if it’s enough make people paranoid but not enough to help them understand the real risks. This can lead to excessive and illogical responses (often ending with "…get… 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

Reptiles, pet stores and child care

Posted in Dogs
My youngest daughter Erin is in every-other-day kindergarten and goes to a child care centre on her non-school days. Overall, it’s a great place – excellent people, great learning environment and she enjoys herself. During the initial interview at the centre, what I do for a living came up and we got into a discussion about… 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

More dumb pet problems

Posted in Other animals
No, I’m not referring to pets lacking in intelligence (my dog Meg leads that category). Rather, I’m talking about questionable decisions by pet owners. Here are a few bewildering stories: The Indian River Reptile Zoo near Peterborough, Ontario, rushed some of their stock of snake anti-venom to Brantford General Hospital (about three hours away) to… 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