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Diseases from Reptiles

An estimated 3% of households in the United States own at least one reptile. Reptiles, including turtles, lizards, and snakes, can carry germs that make people sick. Of greatest importance is salmonellosis. An estimated 70,000 people get salmonellosis from contact with reptiles in the United States each year.
Important Tip!

Children under 5 years old and people with weak immune systems (such as HIV/AIDS) should avoid contact with reptiles. These people can get very sick from a germ, called Salmonella, that reptiles carry. Reptiles include lizards, snakes, and turtles


Learn more about salmonellosis associated with reptiles below.

Salmonella Infection (salmonellosis): A bacterial disease associated with reptiles, including lizards, snakes, turtles, and tortoises.

Is a turtle the right pet for your family? What can be done to prevent turtle-associated salmonellosis? Learn the answers to this and more by visiting our Spotlight on Turtles!

CDC Reports and Recommendations

Outbreaks and recommendations related to reptiles. Reptile-associated Salmonellosis-selected states, 1998-2002; Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 52(49):1206-1209.

CDC Spotlight on Turtles

Turtle-Associated Salmonellosis in Humans --- United States, 2006--2007. MMWR Weekly July 6, 2007 / 56(26);649-652.

Recommendations for preventing transmission of Salmonella from reptiles and amphibians to humans


Prevention Materials

New materials coming this Spring.




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