Sara Wirtz filed a lawsuit against the Serpent Safari in Gurnee Mills, alleging that her son Trevor contracted salmonella after touching a snake there. The lawsuit seeks more than $50,000 for medical expenses.
Serpent Safari is an indoor reptile park in the Gurnee Mills mall. Snakes and other reptiles are on display as well as for sale, and visitors are allowed to pet and hold some of them.
Employees “allowed and encouraged a 2-year-old child to touch or pet a snake,” says the court document.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reptiles—including snakes, lizards, and turtles—can carry salmonella without any visible signs, easily passing it along to people who touch them. The CDC recommends thoroughly washing hands after touching a reptile, and laundering any clothing that the reptile may have touched.
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