Health Care

CDC warns of Salmonella outbreak linked to pet turtles

CDC warns of Salmonella outbreak linked to pet turtles”

Federal health officials are warning about a salmonella outbreak linked to pet turtles.

The CDC says illnesses started on dates ranging from May 29 to September 3.

The health department says there is a multi-state outbreak of salmonella with 21 people being infected across 13 states. The ages of those infected range from less than one year to 80, with a median age of 24.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says any turtle can carry Salmonella bacteria even if they look healthy and clean.

Twenty-one people have been infected with the strain of Salmonella Oranienburg, the CDC announced Wednesday.

Symptoms of a salmonella infection include diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria.

The CDC is recommending, that if you're going to have a pet turtle, that you have no child under the age of 5 in the house, or someone with a weaker immune system.

The illness usually lasts four to seven days and officials say most people recover without treatment. However, in some cases, the illness may be so severe that a person requires hospitalization.

Adults should supervise hand washing for young children.

Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with water and soap right after touching the animal or anything in the area where they live, including after handling pet food and treats, cleaning cages or tanks or picking up toys or bedding. People also shouldn't let turtles roam around areas where food is being prepared. Additionally, turtles should not be kissed or snuggled as this can spread germs to humans through the face and mouth. This handwashing practice should take place whenever someone feeds a pet turtle or cleans its habitat, as well. Of the 17 people interviewed, 12 (71%) reported contact with a pet turtle.

Whole genome sequencing analysis did not identify antibiotic resistance in bacterial isolates from ill individuals.

The reported illnesses are a result of Salmonella Oranienburg. Please see the Timeline for Reporting Cases of Salmonella Infection for more details.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the sales and distribution of turtles with shells less than four inches long. "People should know that reptiles and amphibians carry Salmonella".

This investigation is ongoing, and the CDC will provide updates when more information becomes available.

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