Just in case this is the week your kids are clamoring for a new pet, it's a good idea to be aware of the newly understood dangers of reptiles and hamsters:
"Many parents clearly don't understand the risks from various infections" these animals often carry, said Dr. Larry Pickering, the report's lead author and an infectious disease specialist at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For example, about 11 percent of salmonella illnesses in children are thought to stem from contact with lizards, turtles and other reptiles, Pickering said. Hamsters also can carry this germ, which can cause severe diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps.
Salmonella also has been found in baby chicks, and young children can get it by kissing or touching the animals and then putting their hands in their mouths, he said.
If you're concerned about salmonella from raw cookie dough or eggnog or improperly stored foods, be aware that your child might be more likely to catch it from a rodent, chick, or turtle.
Doctors: No hamsters or exotic pets for young kids