Don't cuddle or kiss your turtles, says CDC - East Idaho News

Don’t cuddle or kiss your turtles, says CDC

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning of a multistate outbreak of salmonella linked to small turtles.

The outbreak has sickened at least 26 people in 11 states, including California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas, the agency said in a news release. Of those sickened, nine have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

The CDC investigation has found that most of the people who became sick reported buying small turtles (shells less than 4 inches long) online or at flea markets or pet stores. The turtles were often sold illegally, as it is illegal to sell small turtles as pets in the United States.

Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause illness in people of all ages, but is especially dangerous for young children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems. Symptoms of a salmonella infection include diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps. In severe cases, salmonella can lead to hospitalization and even death.

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The CDC is advising people to avoid buying or keeping small turtles as pets. If you have a small turtle, the CDC recommends that you:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching the turtle or anything in its environment.
  • Do not allow children to kiss or snuggle the turtle.
  • Keep the turtle out of the kitchen and other areas where food is prepared or eaten.
  • Clean and disinfect the turtle’s habitat regularly.
  • If you think you may have been exposed to salmonella, contact your healthcare provider.

Click here for more information on the outbreak.

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