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Kids and Pets: CDC Advice for Staying Healthy and Happy

October 6, 2008

To: NATIONAL EDITORS

Contact: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of Media Relations, +1-404-639-3286

ATLANTA, Oct. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — CDC experts caution parents, pediatricians, and veterinarians to be aware of the risks that exotic animals and pets can pose to children. A study released in Pediatrics’October issue 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. Many families own non-traditional pets, and children may encounter animals at petting zoos, farms and pet stores. Parents are urged to talk to the family veterinarian or pediatrician to learn how to ensure that their childs experience with animals is both safe and enjoyable.

Diseases and injuries associated with non-traditional pets and wildlife:

Reptiles (e.g., turtles, lizards,

snakes, etc.) Salmonella infection

Rodents (e.g., hamsters, rates,

mice, gerbils, guinea pigs,

squirrels, etc.) Salmonella infection, plague,

rabies

Fish Mycobacterium, Aeromonas, Vibrio,

Salmonella, and Streptococcus

infections

Cattle E. coli infection

Goats Cryptosporidium and E. coli

infections, rabies

Baby poultry (e.g., chicks,

ducklings, etc.) Salmonella infection

Ferrets Bite injuries

Pediatricians, veterinarians and parents play an important role in preventing animal-related illness.

— Children should wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching animals.

— Parents should supervise handwashing for children younger than

five years of age.

— Never touch wild animals or bring them home as pets.

— Always supervise children, especially those younger than five,

during interaction with animals.

— Children should not be allowed to kiss animals or put their

hands or other objects in their mouth after handling animals.

— Pediatricians and veterinarians should advise parents about

appropriate pet selection and how to avoid animal-transmitted

illnesses.

— Family pets should be kept in good health and vaccinated

appropriately.

To read the full text of the article, including expanded lists of animals, diseases, and prevention advice, click here: (http:// pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/122/4/876). More information on this subject can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/ healthypets/.

SOURCE Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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