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Tiny turtles linked to salmonella outbreak, CDC warns

31 August 2017, 01:38 | Lucy Hill

They’re cute but tiny adorable turtles could put your kids at risk for salmonella poisoning. Do not buy them as pets

NO SALES MAGS OUT

An outbreak of i Salmonella /i linked to pet turtles has sickened 37 people in more than a dozen states, CDC reported Tuesday. The outbreak started on March 1, 2017, and went on August 3, 2017.

There have been 37 cases in 13 states since March, and the outbreak has sent at least 16 people to the hospital, though there have been no deaths. A third of the cases were in children 5 years of age or younger.

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.

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.

Since 1975, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration 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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The CDC cautions against buying small turtles as pets or give them as gifts.

On Tuesday, the agency said 13 states are now investigating outbreaks of salmonella linked to contact with the hard-shelled reptiles. Fifteen people reported contact with turtles or their environments before becoming ill. 12 of the victims were children under the age of five years old.

They may seem cute and kids love to play with them, but pet turtles can make you sick. This close genetic relationship means that people in this outbreak are more likely to share a common source of infection. These outbreaks are a reminder to follow simple steps to enjoy pet reptiles and keep your family healthy. The good news is that most people feel better after five to seven days of being sick. The results proved that the strain of salmonella in human outbreaks is genetically closely linked to the bacteria carried by these turtles.

Health officials performed a genome sequencing in 2015 using samples taken from small turtles sold by typical vendors in the streets. "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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