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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
4:19 AM Thu, Dec. 13th

Handling pet reptiles can cause bacterial infections

Reptiles such as snakes, lizards and turtles are often the pet of choice in homes where cats or dogs are not allowed.

Reptiles are linked to a bacterial infection known as salmonellosis that affects nearly 74,000 people each year.

According to a recent Maricopa County report which cites 11 reported cases this year of this bacterial infection in children under 8 years of age, parents and others who care for children can take the following steps to avoid the infection if there are reptiles in the home:

• Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water immediately after handling or touching turtles or reptiles, their cages, or food bowls.

• Carefully wash the cages and surfaces that turtles and other reptile pets have come in contact with. Clean and disinfect bathtubs or sinks with bleach if turtles were kept there and try to keep turtles from these areas in the future.

• Do not allow reptiles to crawl in food preparation or eating areas.

• Do not allow reptiles to crawl in areas where children play.

Turtles with Salmonella bacteria do not appear sick, but the bacteria can cause serious illness in infants, young children, the elderly and those with lowered resistance to disease. Frogs, toads and salamanders can also shed the Salmonella bacteria to humans.

Stomach cramping, fever and diarrhea symptoms of Salmonellosis usually begin 12 to 36 hours after exposure and can last for two to seven days.

12-week wellness program

Finding people to join you for a 30-minute walk every morning could be just a conversation away. Yavapai County Community Health Services' Health Educator Monica Ritchie invites people to form energizing teams of 10 or more adults for a 12-week wellness program called "Arizona Take Charge Challenge." The program begins Monday, Sept. 17, and ends on Sunday, Dec. 9. Call 442-5272 for details, and attend the kick-off meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 12, at the Mackin Building in Prescott, 840 Rodeo Drive.