Outbreak of Salmonella infections linked to pet turtles

Outbreak of Salmonella infections linked to pet turtles
A multi-state outbreak of Salmonella infections has been linked to contact with pet turtles, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Photo source: CDC.gov)
A multi-state outbreak of Salmonella infections has been linked to contact with pet turtles, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Photo source: CDC.gov)

A multi-state outbreak of Salmonella infections has been linked to contact with pet turtles, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A total of 76 people in 19 states have reported infections of the strain of Salmonella Agbeni linked to turtles, including one case in Mississippi. The CDC reported that the illnesses in question started between March 1, 2017, and Dec. 1, 2017, and have resulted in 30 patients hospitalized and no deaths.

Twenty-four of the cases were children younger than 5.

According to epidemiologic and laboratory findings, the outbreak is linked to contact with turtles or their environments, such as water from a turtle's habitat.

The CDC warned people not to buy small turtles as pets or give them as gifts due to their potential for causing salmonella infections:

Since 1975, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has banned selling and distributing turtles with shells less than four inches long as pets because they are often linked to Salmonella infections, especially in young children.

If you have come in contact with a turtle or its habitat, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water immediately after contact.

For more information and tips for pet owners, visit CDC.gov.