Babies and bearded dragons don’t mix: outbreak of reptile-associated Salmonella Tennessee, Germany 2008

 In early 2008, eight cases of Salmonella Tennessee were reported in infants in Germany; normally there is about one case per year.

Using a case–control study to identify the source of infection, German researchers report in the current issue of Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases they identified 18 cases less than 3-years-old. Ten children were male; median age was 3 months (1–32 months). In 8 of 16 case households reptiles were kept. Although direct contact between child and reptile was denied, other forms of reptile contact were reported in some cases. Identical Salmonella Tennessee strains of child and reptile kept in the same household could be shown in 2 cases.

The researchers conclude that indirect contact between infants and reptiles seems to be sufficient to cause infection and should therefore be avoided.