ATLANTA, Oct. 6 (UPI) -- Many have turned to non-traditional pets because they are considered easier to care for, but these animals can pose health risks, U.S. officials say.
Experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention caution parents, pediatricians and veterinarians to be aware of the risks that exotic animals and pets can pose to children. A study published in the journal Pediatrics outlined the diseases that can be transmitted to children when they come in contact with reptiles, rodents, mammals, birds, amphibians, non-human primates and fish.
Reptiles such as turtles, lizards, snakes, etc., can harbor Salmonella infection, while rodents such as hamsters, rates, mice, gerbils, guinea pigs, squirrels, etc., can harbor Salmonella, plague and rabies.
Fish may pass on pycobacterium, Aeromonas, Vibrio, Salmonella and Streptococcus infections, cattle can spread E. coli infection and goats Cryptosporidium, E. coli infections and rabies. Baby poultry such as chicks, ducklings can harbor Salmonella infection.
Parents are advised to never touch animals or bring them home as pets and that parents should supervise children when they wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching any animal, CDC officials say.