Reptile Borne Diseases

Turtles, lizards, snakes, green iguanas (Iguana iguana), alligators, and crocodiles are grown from eggs in farms for their hides and meat. Some species are also grown for sale as pets.

Salmonella infections in persons who had contact with reptiles usually cause gastroenteritis but can result in invasive illness, including septicemia and meningitis, especially in infants and immunocompromised persons. For decades, reptiles have been known to be a source for salmonellosis; however, numerous reptile owners remain unaware that reptile contact places them and other household members, including children, at greater risk for infection. (40) Captive reptiles (such as iguanas) are routinely identified as reservoirs of Salmonella and the number of reports about reptile-associated salmonellosis is increasing. In Germany and Austria, salmonella was detected in 54.1% of fecal reptile samples cultured. The percentage of salmonella-positive samples was significantly lower in turtles as compared with lizards and snakes, as salmonella was only detected in one sample from a single turtle out of 38 turtles investigated. In all, 42 different salmonella serovars were found. All isolated salmonella belonged to the species enterica, predominantly to the subspecies I (n = 46) and Illb (n = 30) but also to subspecies II (n = 3), Ilia (n = 6), and IV (n = 2). All isolates were sensitive to the antimicrobials examined. A significantly higher percentage of salmonella-positive reptiles was detected in the group of owners who purchased reptiles in comparison with pure breeders. The high percentage of salmonella in reptiles in the study confirms the risk for the transmission of the infection to humans (41).

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