A small amphibious package is causing a big problem, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association Smart Briefs.
Over the past two years, Federal officials
have confirmed nearly 220 illnesses of salmonella from Oregon to Massachusetts. The culprit seems to be African dwarf frogs. According to a report in the Oregonian, William Keene, senior epidemiologist of Oregon Public Health, says the problem is far worse.
It isn't news that frogs, other amphibians and reptiles can carry salmonella. Responsible pet stores warn customers to wash their hands as a precaution, after touching reptiles or amphibians. And you'd think the risk is minimal with the African dwarf frogs, since they're not a pet typically handled but instead solely observed. However, cleaning hands after washing their tank or objects in the tank in equally as important.
Children are especially at risk because they simply tend not to wash. About 70 percent of those sickened have been kids
younger than 10. Babies have been poisoned, and 30 percent of all the
patients have been hospitalized. The number of cases on the West Coast
ranges from five in Oregon to 22 in Washington. CDC details the outbreak.
Although the CDC
has not named the breeder, California public health confirmed that the
outbreak was traced to Blue Lobster Farms in Madera, CA.
month, after an infant in a home in New York with African dwarf frogs
fell ill, the CDC called the Madera County Health Department, returned to Blue Lobster Farms for tests and reportedly the facility had widespread contamination. (Interestingly, the company's website doesn't seem to exist based on a Google search).
Many health officials suggest these frogs should no longer be available as pets. As pets, they're relatively easy to care for, and fascinating to watch. However, there's unfortunately no way to insure proper hygiene precautions are always taken.