|When you sit down and try to bring it all together, you
reach several conclusions.
- There is clear evidence that pocket pets can serve as vehicles for
transmission of Salmonella.
- Antimicrobial use in the pocket pet industry is common.
Antibiotic usage contributes to the selective pressure for the
development and spread of multi-drug resistant organisms. Close
contact between pocket pets and people – especially children that are
generally more susceptible to enteric diseases and less likely to wash
their hands – increases the risk that pocket pets will transmit their
infections to people. Subsequent to this outbreak investigation,
pocket pets must be considered as a potential source for multi-drug
resistant Salmonella infections.
- Producers/breeders of pocket pets should use diagnostic testing for
non-specific enteritis, rather than using antibiotics just in case
bacterial agents may be involved.
- Good husbandry and sanitation practices could help prevent
transmission and eliminate the need for prophylactic antimicrobial
treatment within the pet rodent industry.
- The prophylactic use of antimicrobials most likely contributed to
multi-drug resistant Salmonella spread among the pet rodent breeding
populations. Antimicrobials may prolong and mask the clinical
signs of Salmonella infections, and cause extended shedding of a higher
number of organisms. This could result in an increased dissemination of
the infection through a facility.
- Salmonella is a common enteric pathogen that is easily spread among
most animals species, including humans, rodents, primates, birds,
reptiles, and ruminants. It can readily develop resistance, and
therefore inappropriate and unnecessary use of antimicrobials in
raising animals is discouraged.
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