Globally, there has been an increase in squamates (particularly lizards and snakes) being kept as pets. Additionally, urban spread has resulted in greater human encroachment and interaction with the natural habitat of wild squamates. A potential consequence of increasing human interaction with squamates is the increased potential for disease transfer. This review collates the literature describing clinical salmonellosis cases that were definitively linked to a squamate through testing of the animal and population-based studies which investigate the risk of salmonellosis linked to pet squamates. It was demonstrated that although squamate-acquired salmonellosis accounted for a small percentage of total cases, children under five were at greatest risk, with the clinical manifestations tending to be more severe. In many cases, it was noted that the patient was unaware of the risks associated with keeping squamates and did not practice proper hand hygiene after handling the animals or cleaning cages. This highlights the need for more education focused on informing the general public of ways to reduce the risk of salmonellosis from pet squamates. There is also the need for future research into the role of wild squamates in the spread of human salmonellosis, both directly and indirectly through cross contamination.
- Public health