Health Inspector Problem....Geckos and BTS

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Krippschick
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Health Inspector Problem....Geckos and BTS

Postby Krippschick » Wed Mar 27, 2013 6:09 pm

My son was recently hospitalized with a rarer strain of salmonella (sp?) after spending a weekend at my ex husbands. I got a call from the health inspector in Lethbridge and was questioned extensively, and he felt with the incubation period being hours to a couple days before symptoms appear, that it was a chicken pot pie or some canned ravioli that was the probable cause. That is...until he started questioning me about pets. My kids dont handle my reptiles unsupervised and we are very stringent with hand washing (I am a nurse) I have had my reptiles for 4 years with no problems.This is the second time my son has come back from a weekend with my ex with a raging fever. So my question is....Has anyone ever heard of or gotten themselves, salmonella from a reptile? Has anyone had to deal with a health inspector for this reason? Can they make me give up my animals? Are there only certain strains of salmonella that reptiles carry? Any information would be great, as the inspector first said he felt there were no problems, but phoned back while I was out, to say he needed to talk to me again. Thanks to anyone who has info. I am almost certain, it was not from my animals, considering there were at my ex s house friday to sunday, and the time frame for which salmonella symptoms appear, does not match up with getting it at my house.
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Re: Health Inspector Problem....Geckos and BTS

Postby Scotts1au » Wed Mar 27, 2013 8:15 pm

Hi I suppose that answering this is dangerously like giving medical advice, so I'll tread carefully.

There has been discussion on this site over a number of years on this issue. I think the general consensus has been that any animal can have it and pass it on, but reptile can be hosts even when they don't show symptoms themselves, or only show them in a subclinical fashion. Inevitably you won't necessarily be able to tell if your bluey has bugs that could become dangerous to humans if and when they get into a warm blooded environment.

There is a heap of info on the web on the issue but I haven't seen anything that I would consider definitive advice about how or not to tell. Testing can be problematic because my understanding is that there are many species of Salmonella alone that can be pathogenic to humans, then sub types, testing to differentiate species is difficult. Salmonella are common in the environment so it is possible that if you test your animals you will get a positive result for Salmonella (false positive), but you then need to determine whether it is the one causing the problem. There are many potential sources, including toilet door handles, food etc, you being a nurse may also have inadvertently brought it home from work.

My understanding is also that Turtles are believed to be the most common vectors for salmonella amongst pets. Chances are though if you and your kids are into animals that you have been to pet shops and handled animals, including fish or that you have other animals which could equally be culprits such as birds.
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Re: Health Inspector Problem....Geckos and BTS

Postby Krippschick » Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:13 pm

Well, I am pretty much certain that it was probably the chicken pot pie my son ate saturday evening at my ex husbands house. I just wanted some added information to discuss with the inspector, to try and avoid having them force me to give up my animals. My kids do not handle the reptiles, nor do they do cage maintenance. We are extremely careful with handwashing, as my son has Autism and we have been battling an obsession of his, where he chews the skin on his fingers all the time. The doctor told me that the time period from contact to becoming symptomatic was some where in the area of 6 hours to 2 days. That would make sense, since he was not handling or near the reptiles friday morning before school, was at school all day, and did not go near the animals from the time he got home from school till 5 pm when he went to his dads house for the weekend. He did eat a microwave chicken pot pie at his dads on saturday (at least that what he told me), and he started feeling a bit ill sunday night after I picked him up from his dad. He started with a low grade fever on monday morning, but said he felt better with tylenol, and then had a raging fever by 5pm Monday evening, along with abdominal pain around his umbilicus (I initially thought he may have had appendicitis). He was admitted to hospital at 3 am tuesday morning and discharged wednesday afternoon, after having IV fluids for dehydration and IV antibiotics. They did a stool specimen which is where they found the salmonella, but did not mention anything in his blood cultures. His electrolytes were abnormal, and his serum proteins elevated. How this all progressed and with the information I have been reading, I feel it was probably the chicken pie. I just wanted as much information as possible to give to the inspector, as I am worried we will be reported unnecessarily to social services or something and have to get rid of our pets for an unfounded reason. I was given some information and a link on another reptile forum. I will post here if anyone is interested or has some comments regarding the information in this article.

I appreciate and thank you for your time and information.

http://www.reptilia.org/pdfs/habitarium ... ptiles.pdf
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Re: Health Inspector Problem....Geckos and BTS

Postby Spindown » Thu Mar 28, 2013 12:40 pm

I am glad your son is OK! Salmonella can be picked up in so many places it is hard to say exactly where the poor kid ran into it. However, if pet hygiene is great, the likely hood he got it from your animals is very very slim (In my opinion). My friend got salmonella in high school from eating batter! (I still do this, even so...its just too good to pass up :D)

ETA: I have read that most reptiles (and other animals) carry salmonella in their GI tract normally anyhow, so testing them for it would be unhelpful since it will probably be there! Oh, and I found this :
http://www.cdc.gov/nczved/divisions/dfb ... onellosis/ all about salmonella!
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Re: Health Inspector Problem....Geckos and BTS

Postby Lea » Thu Mar 28, 2013 12:43 pm

If you have good hand hygiene when handling your pets, cross contamination is highly unlikely. The most common form of transmission, hence, is food sources.

If a case of salmonella or other such infection is confirmed by the hospital, it is protocol to follow up by alerting the health authorities, to prevent continuous on spread. You can ring the hospital and alert them to a possible source, but usually, infection control teams are already aware and it's already in the process.

If the source came from shop bought meat, ie a home made pot pie, then the supermarkets, chain of meat control etc etc, will be equally followed up by infection control team at the hospital treating your son. Their main concern is to stop further outbreaks, so the technicalities of who fed who, who's house, or which pets you have, are largely irrelevant as they have no bearing on a community outbreak.
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Re: Health Inspector Problem....Geckos and BTS

Postby Krippschick » Mon Apr 01, 2013 8:33 am

The health inspector did not ask for my ex husbands contact info, to follow up on the food and brand that the kids had that weekend. My ex husbands info is not linked with my kids health records. I am not trying to lay blame anywhere. I find it strange that they would not be more concerned about the public. But, I have now been excluded from work, which I do understand, since I am a nurse. I have to have 2 neg fecal samples before I am allowed to return, which is fine with me, better safe than sorry (this did happen 3 weeks ago, and I have had no sypmtoms, but I would not want to risk my patients health). The thing that bothers me is that as soon as I said I had reptiles, they did not bother to check into the food the kids had my ex husbands, which is concerning since it could be that, and could affect other people buying the same brand. I guess I will know more once my results come back. Thank you to everyone for the information and input. Just to say....the kids do not handle the reptiles, and we are very stringent with handwashing. I totally understand the necessity of the health inspector following up, I just think they should check all possibilities.
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Re: Health Inspector Problem....Geckos and BTS

Postby Katrina » Mon Apr 01, 2013 8:39 am

Sorry to hear this is happening to you, Nikki.

I think it is a case of the health inspector not understanding and just assuming that it would be the reptiles without trying to understand. Pretty easy to blame them, problem solved for him. :? Unfortunately it's almost impossible to prove otherwise and I'm sure they will believe what they want to believe.

I've never heard of anyone getting salmonella from blueys. It certainly could happen, though. I have heard of people getting salmonella from improper food handing / cooking.
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Re: Health Inspector Problem....Geckos and BTS

Postby Spindown » Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:05 pm

How awful, I cant believe they are not following ALL possible leads! Not to mention they will probably mark it down as "reptile related" and use it to add to the "statistics" :(
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Re: Health Inspector Problem....Geckos and BTS

Postby Krippschick » Wed Apr 03, 2013 12:44 pm

Well I tested negative for salmonella (surprise!....Not -.-) and am back to work. Unfortunately, I have no idea if they will check into the food brands my kids ate at my ex's as they did not ask for my ex husbands contact information. I hope nobody else gets sick from food that should have been investigated. Thank you everyone for your thoughts, concerns and input. I appreciate it.
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Re: Health Inspector Problem....Geckos and BTS

Postby Spindown » Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:23 am

This just happened to someone I know on facebook and through my herp society...as soon as they found out she had reptiles *poof* goes the investigation.
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Re: Health Inspector Problem....Geckos and BTS

Postby critterguy » Sat Apr 13, 2013 2:35 pm

Did they release what type of salmonella it was? It is easy to trace cases of reptile salmonellosis as they tend to carry types that are not commonly acquired from sources people are more commonly exposed to(chickens).

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