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O2011-07

Dear Freddy Frog

My 7-year-old son has an African dwarf frog. I know turtles can spread Salmonella bacteria to humans. Can pet frogs do the same?

Freddy Responds

Unfortunately, yes, so it’s essential that you supervise your son’s frog play.

A recent multistate outbreak of human Salmonella was linked to one California breeder of aquatic African dwarf frogs. In most cases, the infected people were exposed through contact with contaminated aquarium water rather than by handling the frogs.

Nearly 80 percent of the patients were under 10 years of age. Children as well as the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are at increased risk.

To keep your son safe, ensure that he washes his hands thoroughly with soap and water after he handles his frog or puts his hands in the aquarium.

Wash the aquarium outdoors to prevent contamination of kitchen counters and food. If you must use an indoor tub or sink, bleach it afterward.

Don’t allow pet amphibians or reptiles to roam through your home.

If frogs and turtles are among your son’s classroom pets, talk with his teacher about ensuring that the animals are handled safely.

Every year, Salmonella hospitalizes thousands and kills hundreds of people. Keep your family safe by following these simple guidelines.

 

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