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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Animal & Veterinary

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FDA Reminds Public that Frogs Carry Salmonella

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Updated Cover - CVM Update - Frog

December 8, 2009

The FDA wants to remind consumers that all amphibians (frogs, salamanders, newts) and reptiles (turtles, lizards, snakes) are recognized as a source of human Salmonella infections. Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12–72 hours after infection.

As of 12 p.m. EST on December 7, 2009, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports a multistate outbreak of human Salmonella serotype Typhimurium infections due to contact with aquatic frogs.  Forty-eight individuals infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium have been reported from 25 states.  Seventy-seven percent (77%) of patients are younger than 10 years old and the median age is 4 years.

Anyone can contract Salmonellosis but the risk is greatest in infants, young children, elderly persons, and persons with lowered natural resistance to infection due to pregnancy, cancer, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and other diseases.

FDA recommends the following advice to consumers:

  • If your family is expecting a child, remove any reptile or amphibian from the home before the infant arrives.
  • Keep reptiles and amphibians out of homes with children under 5 years old, the elderly, or people with weakened immune systems.
  • Do not allow reptiles or amphibians to roam freely through the house, especially in food preparation areas.
  • Do not clean aquariums or other supplies in the kitchen sink. Use bleach to disinfect a tub or other place where reptile or amphibian habitats are cleaned.
  • Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching any reptile or amphibian, their housing, or anything (for example, food) that comes in contact with a reptile or amphibian or its housing.
  • Be aware that Salmonella infection can be caused by contact with reptiles and amphibians in petting zoos, parks, child day care facilities, or other locations.
  • Watch for symptoms of Salmonella infection, such as diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. Call your doctor if you or your family has any of these symptoms.

FDA and CDC continue to investigate the cause of the outbreak and will provide additional information as needed.


Contact FDA

240-276-9115 FAX
Issued by: FDA, Center for Veterinary Medicine

Communications Staff, HFV-12

7519 Standish Place

Rockville, MD 20855