April 23, 2018

Turtle-linked Salmonella outbreak sickens 37 in 13 states

31 August 2017, 01:40 | Franklin Nunez

3 Salmonella Cases in Connecticut Linked to Pet Turtles

37 people sick in 13 states after Salmonella outbreak linked to pet turtles

Three people in CT have gotten sick from turtles, according to federal officials.

The Center for Disease Control is investigating salmonella outbreaks in people from 13 states linked to contact with pet turtles.

Pennsylvania had five of 37 cases reported in 13 states as of August 25, with one in New Jersey. Although no deaths have been recorded, at least 16 people have been hospitalized as a result of contracting the bacteria.

CDC officials said 32 percent of those sickened with the Salmonella infections were 5 years old and under.

All turtles carry salmonella bacteria, and recent research has suggested that the smallest ones may be the most harmful for spreading these unwanted germs, which lead to diarrheal illness, fever, chills and stomach pain. Of the 33 people interviewed by the CDC, almost half said that they had come in contact with turtles, their tank, food or habitat.

Six people reported buying a turtle from a flea market, street vendor or receiving one as a gift.

CDC officials said "since 1975, the FDA has banned selling and distributing turtles with shells less than 4 inches long as pets because they are often linked to Salmonella infections, especially in young children".

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"All turtles, regardless of size, can carry Salmonella bacteria even if they look healthy and clean", the CDC said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, the agency said 13 states are now investigating outbreaks of salmonella linked to contact with the hard-shelled reptiles.

Pet turtles are at the center of a multi-state salmonella outbreak, the CDC stated. The agency said this current outbreak is likely to continue because so many people are unaware of health hazards related to contact with the animals.

The agency advises against buying small turtles or giving them as gifts.

Heck, NPR reported about salmonella in pet turtles on the air way back in 1971. "These outbreaks are a reminder to follow simple steps to enjoy pet reptiles and keep your family healthy", CDC said. Most people feel better between five and seven days of being sick.

People should be careful when they have contact with turtles and other reptiles.

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