Pet rodents may be an underrecognized source of human Salmonella infection. This retrospective study matched isolates of S enterica serotype Typhimurium from 28 patients. Twenty-two patients (or their parents) were interviewed, and 13 patients reported exposure to pet hamsters, mice, or rats. The median age of the 15 patients with primary or secondary exposure was 16 years, range 0 to 43 years. Seven patients were under 8 years of age. Although most cases resulted in self-limiting gastrointestinal disease, some clinical courses were more serious. One patient, who was pregnant, had an exploratory laparotomy because of abdominal pain and fever and went into preterm labor at 32.5-weeks gestation. Her infant had part of the jejunum and ileum removed because of complications of infection.
COMMENTARY: In April of this year, the FDA issued a reminder of the risk for salmonella in pet turtles after the death of a 4-week-old infant in a household with a pet turtle with Salmonella pomona. That story and this case report remind us that handwashing is the best way to prevent spread of disease. The CDC gives the following guidelines: • Wet your hands with clean, running water; apply soap. Use warm water if available. • Rub hands together to make a lather and scrub all surfaces. • Continue rubbing for 20 seconds. Need a timer? Imagine singing "Happy Birthday" twice through. • Rinse hands well under running water. • Dry hands using a paper towel or air dryer. If possible, use your paper towel to turn off the faucet.
Multidrug-resistant Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium associated with pet rodents. Swanson SJ, Snider C, Braden CR, et al. N Engl J Med 356:2