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Radio Shows | Pets, They're Cute but Could Be Dangerous | mp3wmawav

Are you one of those parents who was pestered into getting your child a pet?

I was! But I just got them a cat… which is apparently not what a lot of kids want these days.

More and more children want and are getting exotic pets and a new report says that's not such a good idea. The report cites exotic animals like hedgehogs, baby chicks, lizards and even hamsters and turtles can make your kids sick.

What surprised me is that about 4 million US households have pet reptiles! I am just not into reptiles.

Neither am I partly because exotic pets can pass on dangerous infections. About 11 percent of Salmonella infections are from contact with lizards, turtles, baby chicks and hamsters.

Salmonella is a bacterium that causes severe diarrhea and fever and is especially dangerous to children under the age of 5.

Many of you are thinking, phew! Good thing I didn't get that turtle!

But does your child like petting zoos?

Infections have occurred so often that many petting zoos now keep children and animals separated. They can pet them, but not mingle with them to avoid walking in animal bedding and waste. The Texas State Fair has eliminated their petting zoo entirely.

Because animal fur can be contaminated with feces, petting can transfer these enteric organisms to hands which then can be transferred to the mouth unless hands are thoroughly washed.

In 2004, over a hundred people, mostly children, were infected with E coli after visiting the petting zoo at the North Carolina state Fair. Fifteen people were so sick they could have died.

We're not out to scare you… we just want to give parents the tools to play it safe… like handwashing.

So interact with these great animals - just know the risks. As for me. I'm going home to hug a Rottweiller.

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For more information…

The Centers for Disease Control offers several web sites with information about health risks associated with pets and they can be found here and here.

The CDC also offers a site called "Healthy Pets Healthy People" that allows you to browse the site by animal, disease, additional resources etc. here.

A publication in the journal pediatrics entitled "Exposure to Nontraditional Pets at Home and to Animals in Public Settings: Risks to Children" provides an excellent overview of the risks associated with exposure to these animals.
For more information…

Risks associated with unusual pets have also hit the main stream media here.

Risks associated with petting zoos and how to prevent infections when visiting them are described here.

The US Food and Drug Administration publishes a consumer magazine which included an article about both exotic pets and petting zoos.
For more information…


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