The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in 1999 that approximately 93,000 people contract salmonella from reptiles every year. About 10,000 people are hospitalized and some die. The salmonella bacterium occurs naturally in the intestines of reptiles. Surfaces that reptiles touch can become contaminated with the bacteria from fecal matter on the reptiles skin. Salmonella can be passed from person to person and to dogs and cats. While the most common source of salmonella bacteria is contaminated eggs, meat, and poultry, reptile owners should always wash their hands with soap and water after handling reptiles or reptile cages. Also, remember to clean all surfaces the reptile touches. The CDC warns against reptiles as pets in homes with immunocompromised people or with children under the age of five.