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CDC: Don't kiss your pet turtle; Salmonella

31 August 2017

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

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are investigating an outbreak of dozens of U.S. Salmonella cases it has linked to contact with pet turtles.

CDC officials said Tuesday that 37 people across 13 states became sick with infections stemming from contact with pet turtles.

No deaths have been reported from the outbreak, but 16 people have been hospitalized, according to the agency. More than 30 percent of the cases involve people under the age of 5.

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Although it is reported that turtles of any size can contain the Salmonella bacteria but mostly tiny turtles are considered to be riskier.

All turtles shed salmonella in their droppings, the CDC says, and salmonella can end up on their shells or skin - or in the water they swim in.

Do not buy small turtles as pets or give them as gifts.

CDC. Multistate outbreak of SalmonellaAgbeni infections linked to pet turtles, 2017. Between 2011 and 2013, 473 people were sickened by turtles in pretty much every state.

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Salmonella infections can lead to abdominal pain, diarrhea and blood in the stool. Agbeni between March 1 and August 3 this year, including 12 children aged 5 years or younger. 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 FDA banned the distribution and sale of turtles with shells smaller than 4 inches in 1975.

CDC. Take care with pet reptiles and amphibians.

Through genome sequencing of the Salmonella agbeni bacteria at the heart of this most recent outbreak, scientists have learned that the bacteria turtles harbor is very similar to the bacteria that sends humans running to the restroom or the hospital. "These outbreaks are a reminder to follow simple steps to enjoy pet reptiles and keep your family healthy", CDC said. The results proved that the strain of salmonella in human outbreaks is genetically closely linked to the bacteria carried by these turtles. "They've busted two turtle vendors in Montgomery County in the past two weeks: One for selling the turtles to a Silver Spring store; the other for hawking them at the Six Flags parking lot".

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CDC: Don't kiss your pet turtle; Salmonella