Scientific Works Series C. Veterinary Medicine

PRINT ISSN 2065-1295, ISSN-L: 2065-1295, ISSN CD: 2343-9394,ISSN ONLINE 2067-3663


Published in Scientific Works. Series C. Veterinary Medicine, Vol. LXI
Written by Ioana LUPESCU, Stelian BARAITAREANU

Several zoonoses, including rare human diseases, can be transmitted by primates, exotic rodents, lagomorphs and carnivores, marsupials, bats, fish, amphibians and reptiles which are held in households as companion animals. Over the past few years, the interest in wild animals as pets has increased and this interest can also be observed in Romania. The risk of owning wild animals is significant because over 70% of zoonotic emerging infections originate in wildlife. Pathogens can be transmitted to humans through direct contact (e.g. Salmonella spp., Klebsiella spp., Enterobacter spp., Aspergillus spp., Candida spp., Mites), puncture wounds (e.g. Aeromonas spp., Mycobacterium spp., Zygomycosis, Phycomycosis, Mucormycosis), ingestion (e.g. Salmonella spp., Aeromonas spp., Campylobacter spp., Gnathostomiasis) or inhalation (Mycobacterium spp., Aspergillus spp., Candida spp.). In this paper, we reviewed zoonoses and zoonotic agents that can be transmitted by reptiles. To identify pathogens frequently involved in zoonoses transmitted by reptiles, we studied official reports of WHO and scientific papers published in the last ten years. The following diseases were analysed: salmonellosis, tuberculosis (Mycobacterium marinum), campylobacteriosis, Q-fever, Baker-Rosenbach's erysipeloid, Edwardsiella tarda infection and Aeromonas infection. The numbers of pathogens that can be transmitted by exotic pets and the severity of diseases that these pathogens cause to humans and other animals can be high. However, reptiles weren’t involved in severe zoonoses outbreaks, and the probability of introducing a severe zoonosis in endemic regions seems to be low. Unfortunately, pet owners don’t take into consideration the diseases that their animals can transmit, they do not ask for specialists' recommendations and they ignore the preventive measures that should be taken. As a conclusion, the reptile keepers should consider preventive measures, such as: (1) rigorous personal hygiene after contact with an exotic animal; (2) the use of protective equipment, especially when handled animals are showing clinical signs of disease; (3) isolation and treatment of ill animals; (4) periodic cleaning and disinfecting of the accommodation cages.

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