Darwin parents urged to vacuum up gecko and frog poo amid spike in Salmonella cases

Darwin is in northern Australia.

It’s close to the equator.

geckoIt’s hot.

ABC News reports Top End parents are being urged to vacuum up tiny brown and white droppings of gecko poo amid an above-average rise in salmonella cases affecting young children.

Darwin annually records above national average rates of salmonella, especially among children under five during the humid months around Christmas.

This wet season is no different, however the past month has seen an unexpected rise in cases.

“We’re getting about 50 per cent more than we’d expect at the moment,” Dr Peter Markey, head of disease surveillance at the NT Centre for Disease Control, said.

There are many different strands of salmonella, with the disease’s spread generally linked to contaminated food, warm conditions, polluted water, unclean surfaces and the spread of faecal matter.

Symptoms include fever, diarrhoea, vomiting and dehydration, with children and the elderly especially badly affected.

Dr Markey said Top End-specific research conducted by the centre in recent years had identified many well-known risk factors.

“We’ve isolated salmonella from geckos, lizards, snakes. Dogs and cats and turtles are important carriers too. Goldfish even, because aquarium water can be contaminated.”

Dr Markey said young children handling pets and then not washing their hands would often lead to them getting sick, however some might be getting sick from actually eating tiny animal faeces.

Gecko poo is generally elongated and brown, sometimes with a tip of white, and is often mistaken for mouse or rat droppings.

“Toddlers of course live on the ground and crawl around and put anything in their mouths,” Dr Markey said.

“We showed that regular vacuuming can help.

“It’s important to get that gecko poo or the frog poo off the ground or balcony.”


5 sickened: Frog found in midday meal in India

Food safety authorities on Wednesday took specimens of food from a school in Badgaon in Saharanpur district, in which a dead frog was found.

kermit.frogFood safety officer Paramjeet Singh said a dead frog was found in the rice-dal served to students of Sati Smarak Inter College on Tuesday, after which three students and two teachers fell ill.

376 sickened; pet frogs linked to salmonella outbreak in kids

More reasons for the parents at school to hate me. 376 reasons.

Small water frogs marketed and sold as pets are linked to an outbreak of Salmonella infections from 2008 to 2011, according to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The report published in Pediatrics on Monday found the infection sickened 376 people in 44 U.S. states and sent 29 percent of those infected to the african.dwarf_.frog_.storyhospital – mostly children.

“This was the first Salmonella outbreak associated with aquatic frogs, and in this case the frogs are often marketed as good pets for kids,” said Shauna Mettee Zarecki, the study’s lead author from the CDC in Atlanta.

“The majority of people didn’t realize there were any risks from these amphibians or other amphibians, like turtles and snakes,” she added.

While most people hear about Salmonella-contaminated food, Zarecki said reptiles and amphibians also carry the bacteria. Humans can become infected after handling the animals, cleaning their containers or coming in contact with contaminated water.

In the new report, Zarecki and her colleagues write that researchers from the CDC – along with state and local health departments – investigated an outbreak of Salmonella infections, mostly among children, in 2008.

By early 2009, the number of cases returned to normal before the researchers could find a cause. The investigation was started again when five more children were infected with the same strain of Salmonella in Utah later that year.

To find what was behind the outbreak, the researchers interviewed people who were infected with that strain of Salmonella from January 2008 through December 2011. They asked each person what animals and food they were exposed to in the week before they got sick.

They then compared the data from 18 people with that strain of the bacteria to 29 people who were infected with a different type of Salmonella.

Overall, they found 67 percent of the people in the new outbreak were exposed to frogs during the week before their illness, compared to 3 percent in the comparison group.

The majority of people who came in contact with a frog during the week before they got sick remembered the type – an African dwarf frog.

The investigation eventually led to an African dwarf frog breeding facility in Madera County, California. There, researchers found the same strain of the bacteria in the facility’s tank water, tank cleaning equipment, water filters and floor drains.

The facility started distributing frogs again in June 2011, after the owner voluntarily shut down the operation and instituted cleaning measures.

The researchers write, however, that African dwarf frogs can live for five to 18 years, which means infected frogs may still be in homes and continue to cause illness.

“The important consideration with any aquatic pet is to provide adequate filtration to keep the water clean and perform regular partial water changes,” Brooks-Brothers-Dresses-Kermit-the-Frog-for-The-Muppets-02said Dr. Nicholas Saint-Erne, a veterinarian for PetSmart, Inc., in a statement to Reuters Health.

“If these aquariums are in homes, children under five (years old) shouldn’t be allowed to clean the aquarium,” said Zarecki, adding that also applies to people with weakened immune systems.

“Pets are wonderful. We think they’re a great learning tool for children, but some pets just aren’t appropriate for children or individuals,” she added.

Frog found in bag of Aussie salad

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Sydneysider Ben Mulligan has branded Woolworths’ claim that the salad he bought was “washed and ready to eat” as all “LIES!!!” after he says he found an amphibian friend alive in the bottom of the Kermit-the-Frogbag.

Mr Mulligan took photographs of the frog inside the pre-packaged Aussie salad and posted them on the supermarket chain’s Facebook page on Monday night.

“It appears that you forgot to list FROG on the ingredients of your pre-packaged salads, Woolworths,” Mr Mulligan wrote to Woolworths.

“This is disgusting. I ate some of this salad. I could DIE! This poor frog. Wait until PETA hear about this.

“I feel disgusted… disgusted, and still hungry, Woolworths. I bought the salad for me to eat. Not for a FROG to eat. The frog didn’t pay for this salad.”

Within a day of being posted online, the photographs had been shared more than 650 times on Facebook and had attracted nearly 2000 comments.

When contacted, Mr Mulligan said he was discussing the matter with Woolworths and couldn’t comment immediately.

In a statement, a Woolworths spokesperson said the company was investigating the incident.

Woman shows WFTV live frog in unopened bag of lettuce in Florida

A Minneola woman told WFTV she bought a bag of Market Fresh lettuce at a Walmart and found a frog alive inside. 

Dwanita Pitman said she couldn’t believe it when she discovered a frog crawling around the bag of Market Side salad mix that she bought on Thursday. 

The woman said she noticed the frog in the bagged lettuce after she washed some grapes and went to put them back in the crisper drawer. 

“I noticed, like, legs and a hand print,” Pitman said. “I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, babe. Oh, my gosh. Something’s in this bag, something’s in this bag, and it’s moving.'” 

Food and Drug Administration officials were at the woman’s Lake County home conducting an investigation, but would not comment on the issue. 

After making this discovery, Pitman called the company that made the salad mix. She also called the FDA and WFTV. 

“I was like, somebody has got to see this. Nobody’s going to believe this, that it stays alive and the bag’s not open,” Pitman said. 

Pittman said the incident is so crazy, some may doubt her story, but she said it’s not a hoax, and she’s not looking to sue. 

“I don’t have anything to gain,” she said. 

Walmart released the following statement: 

“Thanks for bringing this to our attention. This fails to meet our high standards of quality food at every level. 

“We have reached out directly to the customer to express our sincerest apologies. 

“The store has removed the product with this lot number from its shelves and we’re currently working with our supplier to find out how this could have happened.”


Don’t kiss turtle or frogs; additional Salmonella risk

Some federal food safety thingy decided he just had to tell me how disappointed he was because I ran the don’t-kiss-frogs-and-salmonella story and the U.K. version that linked it to a Disney movie, The Frog and the Prince.

“Your non-apology for your role is (sic) amplifying the ‘far-fetched, but sorta fun’ story makes me wonder how serious you are about your posts and your role in our public health community.”

Who is ‘our?’ Writing 101 mistake.

And dude, join the end of the line. Lots of people are disappointed with me.

The headline of the blog post was, Don’t kiss frogs or turtles, whether it’s in a Disney film or not. And with a new report from CDC, let me reiterate, don’t kiss turtles.

On September 4, 2008, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PADOH) notified CDC of an outbreak of possible turtle-associated human Salmonella Typhimurium infections detected by identifying strains with similar pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) patterns in PulseNet. Turtles and other reptiles have long been recognized as sources of human Salmonella infections (1), and the sale or distribution of small turtles (those with carapace lengths <4 inches) has been prohibited in the United States since 1975 (2,3). CDC and state and local health departments conducted a multistate investigation during September–November 2008. This report summarizes the results of that investigation, which identified 135 cases in 25 states and the District of Columbia; 45% were in children aged ≤5 years. Among 70 patients with primary infection, 37% reported turtle exposure, of which 81% was to small turtles most commonly purchased from street vendors. A matched case-control study showed a significant association between illness and exposure to turtles (matched odds ratio [mOR] = 16.5). Increasing enforcement of existing local, state, and federal regulations against the sale of small turtles, increasing penalties for illegal sales, and enacting more state and local laws regulating the sale of small turtles (e.g., requiring Salmonella awareness education at the point-of-sale), could augment federal prevention efforts. …

This S. Typhimurium outbreak is the third multistate, turtle-associated Salmonella outbreak in the United States since 2006. Before 2006, no large multistate turtle-associated Salmonella outbreaks were identified. One reason for this apparent increase might be PulseNet, which has improved the ability to detect multistate outbreaks. Increased pet turtle ownership in the United States also might contribute to the recurrent outbreaks: the proportion of households in the United States owning pet turtles doubled during 1996–2006, from 0.5% to 1.0% (4). Together, the three recent Salmonella outbreaks account for 258 laboratory-confirmed cases of salmonellosis (5–7) and many more unreported illnesses likely occurred. As with past outbreaks, most ill persons reporting turtle exposure were exposed to turtles with shell lengths <4 inches; these turtles were mainly acquired from flea markets, street vendors, and souvenir shops. The case-control study found a significant association of Salmonella infection with turtle exposure; however, 63% of primary cases in the outbreak had no knownturtle exposure, and 60% had no reptile exposure. This might have resulted, in part, from failure to recall a turtle exposure. Parents or guardians were interviewed as proxies for young children and they might have been unaware of their child’s turtle exposure outside of the home. In addition, certain patients might have had unknown indirect turtle exposure through environmental cross-contamination or unrecognized person-to-person transmission or have been sporadic or background cases.

Snake or frog, Houston mother and kids still grossed out after finding animal head in frozen veggies

Ernestine Jamison cooks vegetables for her four children every night in their north Houston apartment.

But when she opened a bag of Pictsweet frozen cut green beans last month, she found more than just green beans.

The Jamison family believes the green and black frozen object nestled in their dinner was a severed snake head.

Jamison called Pictsweet, and they offered her $150.

But she wasn’t looking for money and turned it down.

A letter sent by the company’s insurance provider to Jamison claims Pictsweet “is not responsible for this accident,” and they are “denying liability.”

The company also claims it wasn’t a snake head at all. They say it was a frog head. “But it’s still gross whether it’s a frog or snake,” said Jamison.

Don’t kiss frogs or turtles: Disney film Princess and the Frog leads to 50 sick kids

The U.K. Daily Express reports that 50 U.S. children have become sick with Salmonella after emulating the heroine in Disney’s latest film, The Princess And The Frog.

Doctors blamed the cases in 25 US states on youngsters kissing frogs after seeing the film. Most were under 10, with half being girls.

Experts in the US and UK urged parents not to allow their youngsters to copy Princess Tiana after seeing the animated film, which is out on Friday. Trevor Beebee, president of the British Herpetological Society, said: “Kissing frogs is not hygienic and they also have various toxic things on their skin, which are unpleasant.”

The Health Protection Agency advises against kissing any reptiles, saying: “All should be presumed to carry salmonella in their gut, even if they do not show any signs of infection.”

Birds and turtles and frogs – just say no to kissing; abstinence will limit Salmonella

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a summary report today on a Multistate Outbreak of Human Salmonella Typhimurium Infections Associated with Aquatic Frogs — United States, 2009.

During April–July 2009, the Utah Department of Health identified five cases of Salmonella Typhimurium infection with indistinguishable pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) patterns, predominantly among children. In August, CDC began a multistate outbreak investigation to determine the source of the infections. This report summarizes the results of this ongoing investigation, which, as of December 30, had identified 85 S. Typhimurium human isolates with the outbreak strain from 31 states. In a multistate case-control study, exposure to frogs was found to be significantly associated with illness (63% of cases versus 3% of controls; matched odds ratio [mOR] = 24.4). Among 14 case-patients who knew the type of frog, all had exposure to an exclusively aquatic frog species, the African dwarf frog. Environmental samples from aquariums containing aquatic frogs in four homes of case-patients yielded S. Typhimurium isolates matching the outbreak strain. Preliminary traceback information has indicated these frogs likely came from the same breeder in California. Reptiles (e.g., turtles) and amphibians (e.g., frogs) have long been recognized as Salmonella carriers (1,2), and three multistate outbreaks of human Salmonella infections associated with turtle contact have occurred since 2006 (3,4). However, this is the first reported multistate outbreak of Salmonella infections associated with amphibians. Educational materials aimed at preventing salmonellosis from contact with reptiles should be expanded to include amphibians, such as aquatic frogs.

Eating raw chicken, handling turtles, and kissing frogs – all can lead to Salmonellosis

Gonzalo Erdozain of Kansas State University writes:

As a pre-veterinary student working for a food safety professor, I’ve heard of Salmonella.

When I arrived at the vet clinic where I also work on Saturday morning, I encountered a pink plastic container filled with a clear solution, which looked like water. The container had tape across it saying, "Water + Bleach – leave soaking overnight, dead turtle."

Because turtles, and African Dwarf Frogs (right), are an excellent source of Salmonella I pondered:

• was soaking the container over night with bleach and water enough;

• was there enough bleach in that water solution to kill the salmonella;

• since I’ll be washing it, should I wear gloves or just bleach it again;

• should I bleach my hands after bleaching the container; and,

• is the turtle still around for that warm soup on this cold day?

I cook at home, and I don’t want to make my wife barf.  Had I not taken the precautions of making sure I properly washed and disinfected my hands, I could have easily brought the pathogen home, passed it on to everything I touched and eventually made it into our dinner.

Beat the bug and wash your hands. The latest amphibian assault involves 48 people sick with Salmonella serotype Typhimurium in 25 states linked to water frogs that commonly live in aquariums or fish tanks.

Salmonella, or any foodborne pathogen can come from dead turtles, kissing frogs (sorry Disney, those happily ever afters only work in cartoons), dog’s treats, or by touching that Wii or PS3 remote your buddy just touched after pooping and not washing his hands.

If you thought your wife got mad at you for laying on the couch all Sunday, multiply that by 100 for making her barf like the girl on the exorcist and shit like Harry (Jeff Daniels) in Dumb and Dumber all at the same time.

More about Gonzalo:

I’ve always been fascinated by creatures. From a young age until now. If I remember correctly, my first pet was a frog I found on our family’s island in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which was flushed down the toilet by my younger brother to see if it could swim. I’ve moved on, and had dogs, horses, parrots and a few other pets, and now I own a crazy yellow lab (don’t ask). But it was this passion which drove me to K-State to pursue a career in Veterinary Medicine and which led me to this online publication, for which I now write?