Pet turtles linked to multi- state outbreak of Salmonella infections


SAN FRANCISCO, CA – AUGUST 11: A turtle sits in an aquarium at a pet store on August 11, 2014 in San Francisco, California. San Francisco Bay Area animal shelters and humane society leaders are reminding the public of the level of commitment it takes to own a turtle as they brace for a surge in sales of turtles following the box office success of the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. Many turtles are often neglected and end up released into the wild or dropped off at animal shelters. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(WJBF) – The CDC and public health officials are investigating an outbreak of Salmonella infections linked to pet turtles across multiple states.

There are twenty-one reported cases of Salmonella infection in thirteen states. Seven people have been hospitalized but no one has died.

Epidemiologic and traceback evidence show contact with pet turtles is most likely the source of the outbreak. During interviews 71% of the infected people reported having contact with a turtle.

People with the infection range from 1 year of age to 80 years old. The reported illnesses ranged from May 29, 2019 – September 3, 2019. WGC (whole genome sequencing) found bacteria from people with the infection were closely related genetically. The CDC and public health officials are still investigating.

Some steps to take in order to stay healthy around your pet turtle are:

  • Always wash your hands
  • Do not snuggle or kiss your turtle
  • clean turtle habitats, toys, and supplies outside of the house

Some symptoms of Salmonella infections include diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps.

Salmonella infections usually last for 4-7 days. Most people recover without seeking treatment. However in some cases depending on the severity people need to be hospitalized as salmonella can spread from the intestines to the bloodstream.

Adults 65 or older and children younger than 5 have weakened immune systems and are more likely to suffer a severe illness.

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