FOODBORNE DISEASE SCAN: Salmonella in frogs and reptiles, cruise ship outbreak

Mar 11, 2013

Studies underscore threat of frogs, reptiles transmitting Salmonella
Two new studies underscore the threat of contracting Salmonella from amphibians and reptiles. In today's Pediatrics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers highlight details of a 376-case outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium infections in 44 states that lasted from 2008 through 2011 and was traced to a breeder of African dwarf frogs. Almost 70% of those infected were children. The authors conclude, "Pediatricians should routinely inquire about pet ownership and advise families about illness risks associated with animals."
Mar 11 Pediatrics abstract
In the other study, in Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, a review of reptile-associated salmonellosis (RAS) in kids since 1965 found that exposure to reptiles other than turtles was associated with a higher risk of invasive disease. Swiss researchers identified 177 pediatric cases of RAS in the literature, 15% of which were invasive, including septicemia, meningitis, and bone and joint infection. They found that 42% of RAS cases were related to turtles, but that invasive RAS was more often related to exposure to other reptiles like iguanas, bearded dragons, snakes, chameleons, and geckos (P < 0.001). Patients with invasive RAS were also younger (0.17 years vs 2.0 years).
Mar 8 Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis abstract

Suspected norovirus outbreak hits Caribbean cruise ship
More than 100 passengers on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship got sick with what might have been norovirus infections last week, according to news reports and the CDC. During an 11-night cruise, 118 of 1,991 passengers and 3 of 765 crew members fell ill on the Vision of the Seas, the CDC's Vessel Sanitation Program reported. A Mar 8 ABC News story said the cases were thought to have been caused by a norovirus. Those who were sick responded well to over-the-counter medication, and the ship returned to Port Everglades, Fla., on schedule, Royal Caribbean officials told ABC. The cruise line said it carried out "enhanced cleaning" on board during the voyage and did further cleaning and sanitizing on the ship and in the cruise terminal after the vessel returned to port on Mar 8. The CDC said it planned to analyze stool samples collected from five passengers and to evaluate the outbreak and response activities.
CDC update on the outbreak
Mar 8 ABC News story

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