Classroom pet brings home salmonella

Posted on November 11, 2009 under Pet Health & Safety, Pet News (General)

Most lizards are carriers of salmonellaWhen an elementary school child gets the chance to take home the classroom pet, salmonella poisoning is likely the absolute furthest thing from their mind. However, one father in Louisville, Kentucky, is claiming that the two lizards his kids brought home from science class infected his family with the bacteria.

After getting the necessary permission slip signed, Jerry Curtsinger’s kids arrived at home one evening with two green anoles, a type of small, green lizard adored by their science class, NBC affiliate WBAL reports.

Curtsinger told the news source, "We thought we were doing a good thing, unfortunately we endangered our family by bringing [the lizards] into our house." As a result, the family’s youngest child developed a fever of about 102 degrees.

According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 7,400 Americans contract salmonella from reptiles each year and about three out of four lizards carry the bacteria.

Lee Ann Nickerson, a science specialist from the Curtsinger’s school district issued a warning to parents adopting any classroom pet, subsequent to the incident. She also notes that common pets such as dogs can carry salmonella and recommends hand washing for anyone practicing cautious pet care.