Don’t kiss turtles, even in Britain

The UK Health Protection Agency reports that cases of Salmonella Arizonae have been on the increase and can be particularly harmful to infants.

The Telegraph reports that Dr Tansy Peters told the HPA’s annual conference,

"Although it is comparatively rare in humans, a study of samples submitted to our laboratory for testing from January 1998 to December 2007 shows that there has been a significant increase in both numerical and percentage terms.

"That may be a reflection of the increased popularity of reptiles as pets.

"This is a very worrying trend and infants and young children with their immature immune systems and weaker gastric acids are disproportionately affected. We even find cases in breast and formula-fed infants and it is unlikely that they acquired their infection from a source other than indirectly, via the parents, from the family’s pet reptile. Reptiles shed salmonella in their faeces and carry it on their skin and the public health implications of this inside the home should not be underestimated."

And if you have them in the home, don’t kiss them.