Page last updated at 11:54 GMT, Thursday, 28 May 2009 12:54 UK

Baby boy poisoned by exotic pet

Salmonella bacterium
Children under five are at greater risk of catching salmonella

A two-month-old baby from Cheshire was treated in hospital after catching salmonella from a pet lizard.

Health officers found the family from Widnes had two pet reptiles, a corn snake and a bearded dragon lizard, that carried the salmonella bacteria.

The baby has now been allowed home where he is recovering.

Halton Borough Council said reptiles were known carriers of salmonella and warned families to consider the dangers of keeping exotic pets.

Environmental health officer Stephen Burrows, from the council, said: "A child may pick up the bacteria from surfaces or household items that have become contaminated and then transfer it to their mouth."

Mr Burrows added people who keep reptiles should follow the guidance issued by the Department of Health in 2000 following the death of a three-week-old baby in Kent.

Children under five, in particular those under 12 months, pregnant women and the elderly are at an increased risk of infection because they have weaker immune systems.



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