Keep reptile–human interactions safe

While the contribution of the main food-related sources to human salmonellosis is well documented, knowledge on the contribution of reptiles is limited.

reptile–human interactionsWe quantified and examined trends in reptile-associated salmonellosis in the Netherlands during a 30-year period, from 1985 to 2014. Using source attribution analysis, we estimated that 2% (95% confidence interval: 1.3–2.8) of all sporadic/domestic human salmonellosis cases reported in the Netherlands during the study period (n = 63,718) originated from reptiles.

The estimated annual fraction of reptile-associated salmonellosis cases ranged from a minimum of 0.3% (corresponding to 11 cases) in 1988 to a maximum of 9.3% (93 cases) in 2013. There was a significant increasing trend in reptile-associated salmonellosis cases (+ 19% annually) and a shift towards adulthood in the age groups at highest risk, while the proportion of reptile-associated salmonellosis cases among those up to four years-old decreased by 4% annually and the proportion of cases aged 45 to 74 years increased by 20% annually.

We hypothesise that these findings may be the effect of the increased number and variety of reptiles that are kept as pets, calling for further attention to the issue of safe reptile–human interaction and for reinforced hygiene recommendations for reptile owners.

Increase in reptile-associated human Salmonellosis and shift toward adulthood in the age groups at risk, The Netherlands, 1985 to 2014

Eurosurveillance, Volume 21, Issue 34, 25 August 2016, DOI:

L Mughini-Gras, M Heck, W van Pelt