Markets where exotic pets are sold have been deemed a major public health concern, after scientists discovered infection risks.
Scientists studied pet markets in the UK, Germany and Spain and found that all attendees were potentially subject to some level of contamination through pets spreading germs.
They also found that visitors to these centres,which sell animals such as reptiles and amphibians, can carry with them a host of germs with the potential to spread disease far beyond the source of original contamination.
The researchers also warned of the health hazards associated with hiring out venues such as schools for exotic pet markets where bacteria may persist for some time after a market closes.
UK groups the Animal Protection Agency and International Animal Rescue commissioned the study, along with several other European animal protection groups.
In the UK, trading in exotic pets has been illegal for the past 20 years, but these markets are still legal on the continent and take place illegally in the UK.
According to the Animal Protection Agency, exotic pet dealers claim that anti-bacterial hand gel offers sufficient protection against bugs from the markets. However, the research showed that this was not the case, the Agency said.