Salmonella warning

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 June, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 June, 2010, 12:00am

If you've got a reptile, make sure you wash your hands. If you don't, you could catch salmonella poisoning, which may cause vomiting, diarrhoea and fever. In more serious and rarer cases, individuals can contract meningitis. 'There is no way to definitively prove that a reptile does not have salmonella, so an appropriate hand washing technique should be used,' says veterinarian Nicole Wyre, at the Tai Wai Small Animal and Exotic Hospital.

The veterinarian advises hand washing should be performed after handling any reptile, particularly after handling faeces and urine. Children should not play with reptiles without adult supervision, in case they touch their face or put their hands in their mouth prior to washing their hands. She says there is always a higher risk to those with a weak immune system, such as the elderly, young or sick.