Popular type of gecko laden with salmonella

Source of Article:  http://www.oregonlive.com/pets/index.ssf/2009/08/popular_type_of_gecko_laden_wi.html

by Jacques Von Lunen, Special to The Oregonian

A type of lizard commonly sold in pet stores was found to harbor ten types of salmonella, the magazine Scientific American reported on its science blog (click to see photo)

Kathleen Smith, a researcher at Brown University, examined 150 Tokay geckos imported from Indonesia. Sixty percent of the popular pet geckos carried Salmonella. While reptiles are known to carry the pathogen, the number of different strains inside the geckos surprised the researcher.

Speaking yesterday at a meeting of the Ecological Society of America in Albuquerque, N.M., Smith said the geckos that tested positive harbored strains of salmonella usually found only in livestock, poultry and rodents.

When Smith asked the Indonesian exporter for an explanation, he said Tokay geckos are "the pigeons of Indonesia," the science blog reported. The lizards for the pet trade are often collected in bathrooms and livestock pens.

Smith headed up a research group that examined the likelihood of exotic pets' bringing disease into this country. The group's findings, published in the journal Science earlier this year, may add fuel to the controversy surrounding the Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act. That bill, H.R. 669, is making its way through Congress. It would severely hamper the import of exotic pets.

Look for a column on how to detect and treat salmonella in pet reptiles soon.

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