From Frogs to Humans - Disease Transmission

From Frogs to Humans - Disease Transmission

Don’t Go Kissing Any Frogs

Growing up, I must have handled hundreds of frogs, toads, turtles, snakes and other creatures. No one thought about disease transmission back then, and apparently I’m quite lucky I didn’t contract some dastardly condition. I don’t remember adults hovering around urging me to wash my hands afterward, either.

However, there are some very serious consequences in handling amphibians, as we now know. The main transmittable culprit is salmonella, but there other less obscure risks, including tuberculosis. Not only do the frogs themselves carry these diseases, but their surrounding environment may also provide the perfect incubator as well.

Salmonella transmitted from frogs can cause mild to severe - and even life-threatening - symptoms. This is the same disease that’s spread at restaurants from poor hygiene. In most cases, it is children who contract this disease, which can lead to nausea, high temperatures, cramping and bloody diarrhea. Experts recommend that parents should not encourage home frog-keeping for younger children.

If you do have a frog as a pet, remember that its entire habitat could be infected. That means the tank, the water and any surrounding surfaces. Holding a frog can leave salmonella bacteria on clothing, which is also easily transmittable.

Do not clean a frog habitat in the kitchen sink. Take tanks outside for cleaning, then disinfect all tools thoroughly. Wear protective gloves when possible.

In most cases, the frogs themselves don’t appear ill or even the least bit lethargic. That’s why, if you’re going to handle amphibians (or any other wild creature), you should be diligent in washing up afterward. While it’s wonderful to encourage children to explore nature, sometimes a little precaution goes a long way.