ALEXANDRIA, Va., Sep 01, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Reptiles may not shed fur on the couch, but they can cause salmonella in small children, Wednesday's issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases reported.
The journal, published by the Infectious Diseases Society of America, reported Michigan state health researchers found 12 percent of salmonellosis cases in children age 5 from 2001 to 2003 came from handling reptiles -- lizards, snakes and turtles.
Young children also might be more susceptible as fewer bacteria are needed to infect small bodies, the researchers said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended reptiles not be kept in homes where people have weakened or damaged immune systems or where there are children under age 5.
Children who do handle reptiles should always wash their hands thoroughly, the study noted, and reptile pets need to be kept in clean cages and not allowed to roam the house.
Copyright 2004 by United Press International.