When I think about bad things that can happen from interacting with a crocodile, infectious diseases don’t jump to the top of my list (ingestion and amputation being the two first things that come to mind). That leads me to the first crocodile story (thanks Stephen), a rather light-hearted description that everyone but the bitten person might find funny (Fitzpatrick SJ and Thomas AL (2010). “Straight from the crocodile’s mouth.” Med J Aust). I’ll save the commentary and let you read it yourself here.

The other tale is a recent paper that showed wild crocodiles from Mexico had a high rate of antibodies against Leptospira (Perez-Flores et al, Ecohealth 2017). This bacterium is an important cause of disease in people. Infected animals can shed the bacterium in their urine, contaminating water sources and associated environments. Most people don’t have a high risk of being peed on by a crocodile, but it could happen to hunters or people catching crocs for conservation or ecological research. Exposure to urine-contaminated environments could be a concern for people who spend time in the same areas for recreation (including ecotourism) or for other activities (e.g. egg hunting).

The risk to people is probably pretty limited, and crocodiles are just one of many potential sources of Leptospira. So, the results of this paper don’t really change much, but they should remind us of the potential for exposure to this bacterium in wet environments, and they highlight the need for routine infection prevention practices (e.g. hand washing, not drinking untreated water, etc.).