Authorities in Darwin are encouraging families to vacuum up frog and gecko droppings after they were identified as the cause of a recent salmonella spike amongst children in the Northern Territory.
The ABC reports that spikes such as this are not unusual during the wet season, however, this year authorities are seeing around fifty percent more cases than normal.
Children under five years old are most at risk. Cases have been linked to small children playing on the floor and getting the droppings on their hands which then aren't washed before eating or putting their hands in their mouths. Some toddlers also eat the tiny faeces directly.
Dining outdoors can also increase the risk of droppings finding their way into food if the preparation and serving areas aren't thoroughly cleaned prior to eating.
Salmonella From Pets
Frogs and geckos aren't the only animals that carry salmonella. Salmonella cases have also been linked to dogs, cats, turtles and even goldfish.
It's good practice to encourage children (and adults) to always wash their hands after petting animals to prevent the spread of salmonella onto food or other surfaces.
The symptoms of salmonella poisoning usually present themselves within 12 to 36 hours, but they could start as soon as 6 hours after consuming the pathogen, or take up to 72 hours to present themselves.
The most common symptoms include:
- Vomiting and nausea
- Stomach cramps
If you or your child is suffering from salmonella poisoning, keep their fluids up with icy poles, cool drinks and electrolyte solutions. To learn more about what to do if you have food poisoning, check out the AIFS Ultimate Guide to Surviving Food Poisoning.