Salmonella Cases in 13 States, Including Illinois, Connected to Pet Turtles

31 August, 2017, 01:39 | Author: Colin Gill
  • 37 people sick in 13 states after Salmonella outbreak linked to pet turtles

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now investing the case of the linkage between the pet turtles with the Salmonella outbreak that has affected many people in U.S.

According to an advisory note posted on the CDC website Tuesday, 37 Salmonella Agbeni cases were reported in 13 states from the beginning of March this year to August 3.

At least 16 of those people were hospitalized and 32 percent of those infected were children under the age of 5.

Turtles carry salmonella bacteria on their shell and skin, which does not affect them but transmits to humans.

Almost half of the infected people said they had contact with turtles or their environments, such as water from a turtle habitat, before getting sick.

Some of those interviewed report buying a turtle from a flea market or street vendor, or getting the turtle as a gift.

"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.

In 2015 and 2016, more than 200 people were sickened in similar outbreaks linked to small turtles.

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CT is one of 13 states hit by a salmonella outbreak linked to pet turtles.

Also, about one-third of the victims have been kids younger than 5, who are more susceptible to getting sick due to their little immune systems and, well, hygiene.

Children are especially at risk, because, as The Post's Dina ElBoghdady wrote in 2012, "kids couldn't resist kissing the toylike reptiles or placing them in their mouths, sometimes contaminating themselves with the salmonella commonly found on turtles".

The CDC warns that no turtles under four inches long should be sold as pets or gifts.

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.

Salmonella poisoning can lead to stomach cramps, diarrhea, and fever, often bad enough for hospitalization. The good news is that most people feel better after five to seven days of being sick.

CDC. Take care with pet reptiles and amphibians.

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

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