The Centers for Disease Control are warning of an outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium connected with handling water frogs, including African Dwarf Frogs. More than 50 people, mostly young children, have been diagnosed with the disease since June of 2009. About one in four have had to go into the hospital, but none has died so far.
The CDC stresses that people with compromised immune systems, including cancer patients on chemotherapy, should avoid handling frogs and reptiles and anything that comes in contact with them like aquariums, habitats, and water. These animals should not be in households with children under five.
Infections have been discovered in 25 states. In talking with patients, the CDC found that many had handled the frogs before getting sick. Bacteria were also found in aquariums housing the frogs in several different places.
The CDC recommends:
- Always wash your hands after handling any amphiphian (like frogs) or reptile (like turtles) or their housing, food, or anything that may have touched them. Parents should help children with handwashing.
- Be aware of the signs of Salmonella infection such as diarrhea, fever, or abdominal cramps. Call your health care provider right away if anyone in the family has them.
- People at risk for serious problems with Salmonella infections — children under 5, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems — should not handle frogs or turtles or anything that comes in contact with them.
- Animals that carry Salmonella infection should be kept out of the households of children under 5 and people with weakened immune systems.
Jason A. Bradley took the photograph of the African water frog.