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RULE §169.121Reptile-Associated Salmonellosis

(a) The Texas Health and Safety Code, §81.352, requires retail stores that sell reptiles to post warning signs and distribute written warnings regarding reptile-associated salmonellosis to purchasers in accordance with the form and content designated by the Executive Commissioner.

(b) The warning signs must meet the following guidelines.

  (1) The sign must be a minimum of 8.5 x 11 inches with fonts that are clearly visible and readily draw attention to the notice.

  (2) The signs must be prominently displayed at each location where reptiles are displayed, housed, or held.

  (3) At a minimum, the contents of the sign must include the following recommendations for preventing transmission of Salmonella from reptiles to humans.

    (A) Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and running water after feeding reptiles, handling reptiles or reptile cages, or contacting reptile feces or the water from reptile containers or aquariums. If soap and water are not immediately available, use a hand sanitizer and then wash your hands with soap and water as soon as possible. Wash your hands before you touch your mouth and before you prepare, serve, or consume food or drinks. Adults should supervise hand washing for young children.

    (B) Avoid contact with reptiles and any items that have been in contact with reptiles if you are a person at increased risk for infection or serious complications of salmonellosis, which, for instance, includes children younger than 5 years of age, adults aged 65 or older, and persons whose immune systems have been weakened by pregnancy, disease (for example, cancer), or certain medical treatments or procedures (for example, chemotherapy or organ transplantations). Keep reptiles out of households or facilities that include such at-risk persons. Consider removing any reptile from your residence and relocating it to a new home before a newborn baby is added to the household.

    (C) Do not allow reptiles to roam freely throughout the home or living area. Wash and disinfect surfaces that a reptile or its cage has contacted. Wash any clothing that a reptile has contacted.

    (D) Keep reptiles out of kitchens and other areas where food or drink is stored, prepared, served, or consumed. Do not use kitchen sinks to bathe reptiles or to wash their dishes, cages, or aquariums. If bathtubs are used for these purposes, clean them thoroughly and disinfect them with bleach. It is preferable to bathe reptiles in a container (such as a small tub or bin) designated for this use and to clean bathing containers, dishes, cages, or aquariums outside the house in a manner that prevents contact of the discarded material with other people and pets. Wear disposable gloves when washing bathing containers, dishes, cages, or aquariums. Wash your hands after removing the gloves.

  (4) The sign must also contain a statement that reptiles carry Salmonella bacteria, which can make people sick, but reptiles may not appear to be sick.

(c) The written warnings, such as fliers or pamphlets, must contain the same information and statements as required in subsection (b)(3)(A) - (D) and (4) of this section. The written warnings must also contain a statement that purchasers of reptiles can contact their local health department for questions pertaining to Salmonella.

(d) A sign or poster prepared by and containing the approved logo of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pertaining to disease prevention of reptile-associated salmonellosis when handling or housing reptiles may be used to meet the required content for the warning sign; however, the written warning must still contain the required content as described in subsection (b)(3)(A) - (D) and (4) of this section, plus the local health department statement as described in subsection (c) of this section. All signs and posters must meet the guidelines set forth in subsection (b)(1) and (2) of this section.

Source Note: The provisions of this §169.121 adopted to be effective March 14, 2002, 27 TexReg 1797; amended to be effective September 14, 2006, 31 TexReg 7352; amended to be effective February 10, 2011, 36 TexReg 549; amended to be effective November 13, 2016, 41 TexReg 8823

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