Friday, January 15, 2010

Wash Your Hands!

Today's commonsense tip of the day comes to us from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Apparently, there was a Salmonella outbreak that affected some 31 states that has been linked to handling pet frogs. Some 30% of those polled in connection with the outbreak had cleaned their pet frog's aquarium in the kitchen sink.

Interestingly, this is the first actual report that deals with such a Salmonella outbreak that has been traced to amphibians specifically. The reptile and Salmonella link has been known for awhile, and lead to some ridiculous legislation in order to lessen the risks of children catching Salmonella from turtles. Specifically, it is illegal to sell or distribute turtles with a shell size of less than 4 inches across, because kids are more likely to try to put that sized turtle in their mouth. This legislation ignores the fact that Salmonella and similar organisms are far more likely to be contracted simply from not washing your hands and putting your hands or anything your unwashed hand has touched into your mouth.

It should also be pointed out that, in most cases, reptiles and amphibians are not a good choice for a pet for households with small children or people with weakened immune systems because of the diseases that they commonly carry. Also, contrary to popular belief, it can be harder and more expensive than people realize to properly keep a reptile or amphibian pet, because their needs are so much different and species-specific.

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