Salmonella infections are caused by consumption of contaminated food, person-to-person transmission, waterborne transmission and numerous environmental and animal exposures. Specifically, reptiles and other cold blooded animals (often referred to as "exotic pets") can act as reservoirs of Salmonella, and cases of infection have been associated with direct or indirect contact with these animals. Approximately 1.4 million human cases of Salmonella infection occur each year in the United States and it has been estimated that 74,000 are a result of exposure to reptiles and amphibians. Regular case reports of reptile-associated salmonellosis in the US are available for the period 1994-2002. Cases of Salmonella infection attributed to direct or indirect contact with reptiles or other exotic pets have been described in a number of European countries, too but a more comprehensive overview of the magnitude of this problem in Europe is lacking. In total, 160,649 human cases of salmonellosis were reported in 2006 in the then 25 European Union Member States, Bulgaria, Romania, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.