CDC Cautions Parents: Pet Water Frogs Linked to Salmonella

African dwarf frogThe Centers for Disease Control is tracking incidences of salmonella poisoning that are linked to an African dwarf frog that is sold as a pet.  The outbreak has sickened 241 individuals–61 percent of whom are children under 10–since 2009.  The outbreak can be traced to a single frog breeding facility Madera County, California, Blue Lobster Farms, a CDC release stated.

Blue Lobster Farms had voluntarily stopped shipping the frogs in April, but resumed distribution in June, shipping frogs to pet stores, educational stores, toy stores, fairs, carnivals, from online retailers and other venues.  The resumed distribution has prompted public health officials to work with the facility to conduct more thorough testing of the animals before they ship, although the CDC said the tests’ effectiveness has not been proven.  The CDC cautioned parents to be especially vigilant to stopping the salmonella outbreak, which can cause diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramping:

CDC is warning parents that children under 5 years old are at high risk for serious Salmonella infections and should avoid contact with water frogs, their water and their habitats (e.g. tanks or aquariums). Others who are at high risk and who should avoid contact with water frogs, their water and their habitats include: pregnant women, people who have weak immune systems, such as cancer patients, and those undergoing chemotherapy or organ transplants.

(image via: http://www.cdc.gov/)

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