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Epidemiol Infect. 2011 Aug;139(8):1254-61. doi: 10.1017/S0950268810002281. Epub 2010 Oct 14.

An outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium DT191a associated with reptile feeder mice.

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  • 1Gastrointestinal, Emerging and Zoonotic Infections Department, Health Protection Agency, London, UK.


In December 2008 an increase of tetracycline-resistant Salmonella Typhimurium definitive phage-type 191a (DT191a) was identified in England and Wales by the reference laboratory. This was confirmed to have a phage-typing pattern that had not previously been seen. Strong statistical evidence for an association between illness and keeping reptiles was demonstrated by a matched case-case study (mOR 16·82, 95% CI 2·78-∞). Questionnaires revealed an association with frozen reptile feeder mice, and mice representing 80% of the UK supply lines were tested for the presence of Salmonella. DT191a was found in three pools of sampled mice, which were traced back to a single supplier in the USA. Imports from this supplier were halted, and tighter regulations are now in place. A leaflet detailing how to prevent contracting Salmonella from pet reptiles has been published as well as updated advice on the Health Protection Agency's website.

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