The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers about some frozen rodents sold as reptile food that have been linked to Salmonella.
A total of 37 people have become ill with Salmonella infections after handling frozen “feeder rodents” sold at PetSmart stores, according to FDA’s warning.
The Arctic Mice brand frozen rodents were distributed nationwide to PetSmart stores by Reptile Industries Inc. The Naples, Florida, USA-based company has declined a recall of all of affected products, according to FDA.
As of May 13, a total of 37 illnesses connected to the mice have been reported in 18 states since January 2014, and five people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
A strain of bacteria called Salmonella Typhimurium was detected in one of the feeder mice in the home of someone who fell ill in Oregon, USA, and testing conducted by FDA identified the outbreak strain in two frozen feeder rodent samples collected during an investigation at the company's facility. Two-thirds of the ill people interviewed reported contact with multiple types of reptiles, including snakes and lizards, and 15 reported exposure to frozen feeder rodents.
If you think you've been sickened by contact with the product, call your doctor. If you have any of the Arctic Mice frozen rodents, dispose of them by placing them in a sealed container in the trash so that animals and pets cannot reach them.
Visit FDA’s website for tips on safely handling feeder rodents.