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Frogs Linked to Salmonella Outbreak in Children

3/11/2013 For Release:  March 11, 2013

A nationwide outbreak of human Salmonella Typhimurium infections in children from 2008 to 2011 was linked to African dwarf frogs kept as pets. The outbreak is described in the study, “U.S. Outbreak of Human Salmonella Infections Associated with Aquatic Frogs, 2008-2011,” in the April 2013 issue of Pediatrics (published online March 11). Researchers identified 376 cases from 44 states. No patients died, though 29 percent were hospitalized. The infections occurred primarily among children younger than 10 years. Investigators tracked the source of the infection to a breeding facility that shipped frogs to distributors nationwide. Few patients were aware of the risk of Salmonella from reptiles and amphibians. Study authors conclude that parents should be educated about the risk of infection and need for hand-washing. Children under age 5 are at higher risk for serious Salmonella infections and should avoid contact with African dwarf frogs, their water and their tanks or aquariums. The frogs’ habitat should be washed outside of the home, rather than in the kitchen or bathroom sink. 

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.