The Centers for Disease Control of the USA (CDC) says it is receiving reports of people being infected with salmonella from their pet rodents, some of these people are children.

It is important to wash your hands after handling these pets, says the CDC. Parents should teach their children the importance of handwashing. They should carefully monitor their children when they are handling their pets.

The most popular pet rodents are rats, mice and hamsters.

What is salmonella and salmonellosis?

If you are infected with a bacteria called salmonella you have salmonellosis. Symptoms include:

— A higher than normal temperature
— Abdominal cramps (stomach pains that feel like gut rot)

The symptoms appear from 12-72 hours after you have been infected and you are ill for about a week. Most people get over it, even without any treatment.

If the diarrhea is severe, however, the patient may have to go to hospital. This is because the bacteria has spread from the intestines into the blood stream. When it spreads into the blood stream it can affect other parts of the body and the patient needs treatment – at this point the infection can be dangerous (life threatening for some people).

People with a weak immune system, the elderly and infants are more prone to complications from salmonella and need treatment.

Written by: Christian Nordqvist
Editor: Medical News Today