A preliminary assessment of bacteria in “ranched” ball pythons (Python regius), Togo, West Africa
by Neil D'Cruze et al.
Nature Conservation. May 2020 39:73-86 DOI: 10.3897/natureconservation.39.48599.
This study evaluates the presence of any potentially pathogenic bacterial taxa in ball pythons and the live mice used as their food at a commercial python farm that could impact negatively on the health of these snakes and/or those keeping them.
Zoonotic parasites of reptiles: A crawling threat
by Jairo A. Mendoza-Roldan, David Modry, Domenico Otranto
Trends in Parasitology. Volume 36, Issue 8, August 2020, Pages 677-687.
This review discusses the zoonotic risks associated with human–reptile interactions.
Risky business: Live non-CITES wildlife UK imports and the potential for infectious diseases
by Jennah Green, Emma Coulthard, John Norrey, David Megson, Neil D’Cruze
Animals. 2020, 10, 1632; doi:10.3390/ani10091632.
Over 48 million individual animals were imported into the UK from 90 countries across nine global regions from 2014–2018. In terms of volume (semi-domesticated pigeons and game birds aside), amphibians were the most commonly imported group (73%), followed by reptiles (17%), mammals (4%), and birds (3%). The paper reviews the potential for infectious diseases emerging from these vast and varied wildlife imports and discuss the potential threats they pose to public health.
Healthy animals, healthy people: Zoonosis risk from animal contact in pet shops: A systematic review
by Kate D Halsby, Amanda L Walsh, Colin Campbell, Kirsty Hewitt, Dilys Morgan
PLOS ONE. 9(2) e89309, 2014.
A wide spectrum of zoonotic infections are acquired from pet shops. Salmonellosis and psittacosis were the most commonly documented diseases, however more unusual infections such as tularemia also appeared in the review. Given their potential to spread zoonotic infection, it is important that pet shops act to minimise the risk as far as possible.
The morality of the reptile pet trade
by Clifford Warwick
The Journal of Animal Ethics. 4(1):74-94, 2014.
The trade in, and private keeping of, reptiles as pets raises several ethical concerns regarding animal welfare; species conservation and environmental degradation; ecological alteration; and public health and safety (associated with zoonotic disease and animal-linked injuries). The selling and keeping of reptiles and other exotic animals has been likened to a Trojan horse of infection and infestation because people acquiring these animals are commonly unaware of the risks of introducing stealthy and infiltrative diseases right into the home.
Evidence for the transmission of Salmonella from reptiles to children in Germany, July 2010 to October 2011
by M Pees, W Rabsch, B Plenz, A Fruth, R Prager, S Simon, V Schmidt, S Münch, P G Braun
Eurosurveillance. 18(46):pii=20634, 2013.
A new study looks at the salmonella risks associated with pet reptiles and presents significant findings regarding risk, and also introduces a new term term ‘REPAS’ as an acronym for ‘Reptile-Exotic-Pet-Associated-Salmonellosis’.
Welfare and environmental implications of farmed sea turtles
by Phillip C Arena, Clifford Warwick, Catrina Steedman
Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics. 27:309-330, 2013. DOI:10.1007/s10806-013-9465-8.
This article looks at various captivity-related health problems arising in the farming of sea turtles at the Cayman Turtle Farm (CTF), as well as the possible association between the farming of sea turtles and animal, human and environmental contamination. The paper includes a table of animal and zoonotic pathogens based on water analysis at CTF.
Injuries, envenomations and stings from exotic pets
by Clifford Warwick, Catrina Steedman
Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. 105(7):296-299, 2012. DOI:10.1258/jrsm.2012.110295..
Data for 2009–2011 suggest that the number of homes with reptiles rose by approximately 12.5%. Many exotic “pets” are capable of causing injury or poisoning to their keepers and some contacts prove fatal.
Gastrointestinal disorders: are healthcare professionals missing zoonotic causes?
by Clifford Warwick
Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health. 124(3):137-42, 2004.
Acute gastrointestinal disorders (AGIDs) of presumed infectious origin are among the most frequent infective diseases referred to hospital. But established sources of potential infection — such as pet shops, exotic and domestic pets, farm animals/environments, and zoos and other wildlife centres — are, however, only infrequently enquired into by GPs; thus their pathological significance may be easily overlooked.
Reaping the whirlwind? Human disease from exotic pets
by Catherine M Brown
BioScence. 58(1):6-7. 2008.
In 2005 alone, 210 million animals were legally imported into the United States to satisfy the growing demand for exotic species. An unknowable number of pets, animal parts, and meat were smuggled in during the same time period, making up a large part—a portion ranked second only to the illegal drug trade—of the estimated $10 billion per year international black market. Introducing so many animals into a new and unnatural environment—our homes—after removing them from the ecosystems in which they evolved represents a disruption of substantial magnitude. This displacement brings these animals into close proximity with species they have not previously encountered, and the public health consequences may be startling.
Compendium of measures to prevent disease associated with animals in public settings
by National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians, Inc.
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).
Venues such as county or state fairs and petting zoos encourage or permit the public to be in contact with animals, resulting in millions of human-animal interactions each year. This report provides recommendations for minimizing risks associated with animals in public settings. The recommendation to wash hands is the most important.
Zoonotic viruses associated with illegally imported wildlife products
by Kristine M Smith, Simon J Anthony, William M Switzer, Jonathan H Epstein, Tracie Seimon, et al
PLOS ONE. 7(1): e29505, 2012. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0029505.
A pilot project to establish surveillance methodology in the United States for zoonotic agents demonstrated that illegal bushmeat importation could act as a conduit for pathogen spread.
Increase in extraintestinal infections caused by Salmonella enterica Subspecies II–IV
by Sharon L Abbott, Frank C Y Ni, J Michael Janda
Emerging Infectious Diseases. 18(4), 2012.
Analyzing data on Salmonella enterica subspecies II–IV infections in California, USA from 1985–2009, these subspecies were found to cause significantly more frequent invasive disease (e.g., bacteremia) than did Salmonella subspecies I strains.
Surveillance of zoonotic infectious disease transmitted by small companion animals
by Michael J Day, Edward Breitschwerdt, Sarah Cleaveland, Umesh Karkare, Chand Khanna, Jolle Kirpensteijn, et al
Emerging Infectious Diseases. 18(12), 2012. DOI:10.3201/eid1812.120664.
Most new human infectious diseases will emerge from animal reservoirs, but little consideration has been given to the known and potential zoonotic infectious diseases of small companion animals such as cats and dogs. A strategy should be developed to implement a coordinated global surveillance scheme to monitors disease in these species.
Salmonella prevalence among reptiles in a zoo education setting
by H B Hydeskov, L Guardabassi, B Aalbaek, K E Olsen, S S Nielsen, M F Bertelsen
Zoonoses and Public Health. 60(4):291-5, 2012. DOI:10.1111/j.1863-2378.2012.01521.x.
Despite the relative high prevalence of Salmonella observed among clinically healthy reptiles in Copenhagen Zoo’s Education Department, no Salmonella cases have been linked to the Zoo. Simple hygienic procedures such as handwashing may be reducing the risk.
Estimates of Enteric Illness Attributable to Contact with Animals and their Environments in the United States
by Christa R Hale, Elaine Scallan, Alicia B Cronquist, John Dunn, Kirk Smith, Trisha Robinson, Sarah Lathrop, Melissa Tobin-D’Angelo, Paula Clogher
Clinical Infectious Diseases. 54(5):472-479, 2012.
An estimated 14% of all human illnesses caused by 7 groups of pathogens were attributable to animal contact. Continued efforts are needed to prevent pathogen transmission from animals to humans, including increasing awareness and encouraging hand hygiene.
Zoonoses: drawing the battle lines
by Clifford Warwick
Veterinary Times. 2006; 36 (15), 26–28..
Zoonotic pathogens are nothing new: some of the earliest forms of parasite possessed zoonotic potential through their “neophillic” status which, as a sound biological strategy, kept their invasive options open – and rightly so.