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Pet frogs carrying Salmonella

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(KYTX) - A group of U.S. researchers make a startling discovery in pet frogs- Salmonella. The study shows African dwarf frogs are causing a nationwide outbreak of the bacteria, and it's mainly affecting young children.

Tiffany Koop has three small children. She says her home is no place for amphibians for reptiles.

"They're not for pets. There's so many dangers. Just, the diseases they can carry..."

She says this latest Salmonella outbreak only solidifies her decision to keep frogs away from her little ones.

"Everybody is going home and checking their little pets to see, do we have frogs, do we have amphibians, reptiles, what's going on?"

Pediatrician Dr. Danny Price with St. Paul Children's Clinic says parents should be concerned because Salmonella can cause a bacterial infection in the intestines. And for young children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems, Salmonella can be even more dangerous.

"We certainly don't want them to have this African dwarf frog in their possession because that could be very deadly even for them."

But, we're not just picking on the African dwarf frog...

"Really, any frog and reptile that you play with could potentially have this infection, but it does seem that the percentage is much higher lately with the African dwarf frogs."

Dr. Price says no matter what your age or health situation is, any time you handle a reptile you want to make sure you wash your hands with soap and warm water for a full minute so you get all of that bacteria off and you don't spread germs to others.

"If they can be seen and touched, that's one thing," says Koop, "but if the child is playing with something you know could carry a disease, then you need to take precautions on that."

Dr. Price says that's going to be especially important as the weather gets warmer and these frogs start showing up across East Texas.

"Kids are going to be kids. And, they need to get out and play. And, I would rather them do that. Just, wash their hands when they come inside.

Dr. Price says if your children are perfectly healthy and are older than five, it may be ok to keep frogs in the house. Just make sure you disinfect the aquarium regularly and never take it into the kitchen where it can infect the sink or eating utensils.

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