A 'plague' of frogs has hit the children, at least the salmonella bacteria infection from the frogs and/or their watery environment. Your kids may not have had the norovirus but instead, salmonella bacteria poisoning from pet frogs or their aquarium water and decor. Check out the March 11, 2013 news article, "Kids' Pet Frogs Caused Salmonella Outbreak: CDC." Most families aren't aware of the salmonella risk from amphibians, turtles, chicks, ducklings, and reptiles. And some kids and adults kiss their pets.
If you're in California, the infection has been linked to frogs bred at a single California facility, according to the Health Day article. Buying chicks or ducklings come Easter week, could produce the same salmonella infections all over again when kids, particularly those under age five, kiss their pets or even handle them.
And the aquarium water or terrarium contents from reptiles and amphibians such as frogs, toads, turtles, snakes, iguanas, geckos, and any other reptile could also spread salmonella if dumped into your sink or bathtub. Dump the water outside, not in the kitchen sink or bathtub. You're risking a salmonella infection, since many people don't bleach their sinks and tubs or showers after cleaning anything in them that had contact with pets.
You can check out the salmonella report published online March 11, 2013 in advance of publication in the April print issue of Pediatrics. Also check out the abstract of another report, "US Outbreak of Human Salmonella Infections Associated With Aquatic Frogs, 2008–2011."
African dwarf frogs (ADF), is a type of aquatic frog. Among 18 cases and 29 controls, illness was significantly associated with frog exposure (67% cases versus 3% controls, matched odds ratio 12.4, 95% confidence interval 1.9–infinity). Environmental samples from aquariums containing ADFs in 8 patients’ homes, 2 ADF distributors, and a day care center yielded isolates indistinguishable from the outbreak strain. Traceback investigations of ADFs from patient purchases converged to a common ADF breeding facility.
Environmental samples from the breeding facility showed the outbreak strain. In the study's abstract, African dwarf frogs (ADFs) were the source of this nationwide pediatric predominant outbreak. Pediatricians should routinely inquire about pet ownership and advise families about illness risks associated with animals.
The salmonella-infected African dwarf frogs came from a California breeding facility and sickened potentially thousands of children with severe illness
The children's average age was five. Your children shouldn't be handling pet frogs or even turtles, which are often kept in home aquariums, and amphibians and reptiles in general, including iguanas, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
That includes the pet snake in the fish tank. Instead, let kids grow plants in the fish tank. Keep amphibians, especially frogs out of any house where there are children under age five. Medical researchers found 376 cases of infection with a type of salmonella in 44 states from 2008 to 2011. More than two-thirds were children under the age of 10.
Diagnosing the strain of salmonella requires testing a stool sample. Most doctors don't have the time to analyze stool for what caused the children's vomiting and diarrhea. They may attribute it to "virus X" or stomach flu, or mistake it for the norovirus which is running rampant in Europe and the USA.
About 30 percent of the infected people in this outbreak were hospitalized
The CDC doesn't even know how widespread the outbreak actually was because the norovirus had been going around at the same time. But previous research suggests that there may be 16 cases for each reported case, making it possible that this outbreak affected some 6,000 people, according to the CDC.
If you have an aquarium, dump it outside the home and not in your bathtub or sink or down the toilet. Keep amphibians and reptiles away from children under age five and away from the elderly and anyone else with a weaker immune system. Salmonella outbreaks are common in people who own a variety of pets. Amphibians are notorious for the amount of salmonella they carry and transmit to humans causing days of vomiting and diarrhea.
Turtles and snakes also carry a high source of salmonella and can infect people. The facts of the outbreak are in the news because this is the first time they have been linked to an illness on this scale. Keep kids away from chicks and ducklings also, because they, too carry salmonella just like amphibians.
The outbreak is linked to a frog breeding facility in Madera County, California, and the CDC didn't identify the facility
The salmonella infection spreads from frogs to humans through their feces which may be mixed with the water where the frog stays and get onto the person's fingers, and with kids, into their eyes, ears, nose, or mouth. Children are especially vulnerable to salmonella. It appears that they were infected through contact with contaminated water from frog aquariums or other containers where the frog stays in its watery environment.
Another way to catch salmonella from the frogs was to get the water into the mouth or even other water or liquids contaminated with the water than came from the frog's environment, such as the water from the aquarium tank. More often though, salmonella is transmitted either from food contaminated with the bacteria or direct contamination of the hand that subsequently goes in the mouth.
Salmonella gets into the kitchen sink
One of the quickest ways not noticed by people is to clean the frog's aquarium in the kitchen sink and then bath the child in the sink. Another is to keep baby bottles near the sink. If bleach wasn't used in the sink for a long enough period, the sink would be full of salmonella bacteria. The news article even reported that in one case, a family cleaned an aquarium in the same kitchen sink that they used to bathe their child and kept baby bottles nearby. The child became infected and was hospitalized.
If you've had contact with any of these animals, wash your hands with soap and water more than once. If you clean a terrarium containing materials for frogs and turtles or snakes, also wash your hands more than you would if you were just touching your computer keys. Kids and even adults kiss their pets. This is one sure way to come down with salmonella for many.