The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced today the investigation of a multistate Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak that has sickened 37 people in 18 states since the beginning of the year.
Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback findings have linked this outbreak of Salmonella infections to contact with frozen feeder rodents packaged by Reptile Industries, Inc. of Naples, Florida. The rodents were distributed to PetSmart stores under the brand name Arctic Mice.
The CDC notes that “feeder rodents” are mice, rats, or other rodents of different sizes and ages. Feeder rodents are used to feed some pet reptiles and amphibians.
The outbreak strain was detected in feeder rodent samples during testing by both the Oregon State Public Health Laboratory and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page.
15% of those infected with the salmonella strain required hospitalization for their illness.
The breakdown of cases by state is as follows: Alabama (1), Arizona (2), California (7), Illinois (1), Kentucky (1), Maryland (1), Michigan (2), Minnesota (1), Missouri (2), Montana (3), New Jersey (3), New Mexico (1), North Carolina (1), Ohio (4), Oregon (2), Pennsylvania (3), South Dakota (1), and Texas (1).
The FDA advises consumers who have Reptile Industries Inc.’s Arctic Mice brand frozen rodents purchased from PetSmart since January 11, 2014, should dispose of the product by placing it in a sealed container in the trash so that no children, pets, or other animals, such as wildlife, may be able to reach it.
Additionally, consumers who handle feeder rodents should follow these tips to reduce the risk of Salmonella infection:
- DO thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water (for at least 20 seconds) immediately after handling feeder rodents or anything in the area where they are stored, thawed, prepared, and fed to reptiles or amphibians.
- DO thoroughly clean and disinfect all surfaces that come in contact with feeder rodents. A bleach solution of 1 tablespoon bleach to 1 quart (4 cups) water is an effective disinfectant. For a larger supply of solution, add ¼ cup bleach to 1 gallon (16 cups) water.
- DO keep feeder rodents out of areas where food and drinks for people are stored, prepared, served, or eaten.
- DON’T thaw frozen feeder rodents in a microwave oven used for human food.
- DON’T prepare feeder rodents or feed them to your pet reptile or amphibian with kitchen utensils that you use to prepare human food.
- DO designate separate kitchen utensils used solely for these purposes and clean and disinfect them after each use.
- DON’T let children (especially those younger than 5 years), the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems handle or touch feeder rodents, reptiles, or amphibians.