Salmonella Risk in Geckos
The bacteria salmonella is carried by most reptiles, including geckos, and can be a threat to the health of people who handle them. But with simple precautions, the threat of salmonella can be greatly diminished.
How Do Geckos Carry Salmonella?
Geckos, like many reptiles, may carry the salmonella bacteria in their intestines, which then is carried into their feces. Also, some geckos may be fed raw chicken, which can carry the bacteria.
How Do Geckos Spread Salmonella?
When the gecko defecates, the animal may step into the feces and carry minute traces on its feet. When you pick up the gecko, the bacteria then is transferred to your hands.
Will Salmonella Make Me Sick?
The most common disease you might get from your gecko is salmonellosis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 70,000 people get salmonellosis from contact with reptiles in the United States each year. An infected person may experience a moderate fever, nausea, abdominal pains and cramps, and diarrhea.
How to Reduce the Risk of Salmonella
Practicing good hygiene is the easiest and best way to avoid spreading salmonella from your gecko. Wash your hands after handling your gecko or anything with which your gecko has come into contact. Do not let small children handle your gecko, as they tend to place their hands in their mouths.
Children younger than 5, the elderly and people with weak immune systems (such as HIV/AIDS) should avoid contact with reptiles, including geckos, due to the danger of salmonella. Salmonellosis can be very serious and even fatal for people in these groups.