Staying Healthy - Pet Reptiles, Amphibians and Fish
Reptiles (such as turtles, lizards and snakes), amphibians (such as frogs and toads) and fish (such as goldfish and tropical fish) can carry micro-organisms which may make you very sick. Of particular concern is a bacterium called Salmonella.
Many domestic and wild animals, including reptiles, amphibians and fish, can become infected with Salmonella and may intermittently shed Salmonella in their droppings (or faeces). Reptiles, amphibians and fish that are infected with Salmonella usually do not appear sick.
Salmonella can contaminate the pet and its surroundings, such as the pet enclosure, tank water and pebbles. Salmonella is able to survive in the environment for long periods (up to months or years).
People may become infected with Salmonella if they transfer animal droppings containing Salmonella bacteria from their hands to their mouths, for example, if eating after touching animals and failing to wash their hands.
If you, or a household member, become ill and need to visit your doctor, remember to tell your doctor about your contact with reptiles, amphibians and fish.
Salmonella infection in humans may cause gastroenteritis (infection in the gut), septicaemia (infection in the blood) and infection in other sites.
Symptoms may include:
nausea and sometimes vomiting.
Infection can be serious and may require hospitalisation.
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