Reptiles are very common carriers of Salmonella and can be infected without showing any symptoms. Humans can contract reptile-associated Salmonellosis (RAS) by handling a Salmonella-infected reptile or any object contaminated by a Salmonella-infected reptile then failing to properly wash their hands, or by allowing reptiles to contaminate areas of food preparation.
This study tested reptiles for Salmonella in four Nebraska pet shops in March of 2007 to estimate the prevalence of Salmonella in captive reptiles in Nebraska. Of 80 pet reptiles tested, 53.8% (43) yielded Salmonella, which is much higher than the 6.6% (12 of 182) prevalence of Salmonella in wild reptiles in Nebraska from previously-gathered data.
Two generalized linear models and two mixed models suggested that pet shops may account for the variation in prevalence of Salmonella, while taxonomic groups do not. Presence of Salmonella in Nebraska reptiles appears to be mainly dependent upon location—geographic proximity to other reptiles with Salmonella in the wild, or the presence of Salmonella in other pet reptiles within a pet shop.
Cain, Casey R.; Tyre, Drew; and Ferraro, Dennis
"Incidence of Salmonella on Reptiles in the Pet Trade,"
RURALS: Review of Undergraduate Research in Agricultural and Life Sciences: Vol. 4
, Article 1.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/rurals/vol4/iss1/1