Salmonella Cases in Connecticut Linked to Pet Turtles

31 August, 2017, 01:35 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • Pet turtles blamed for multistate salmonella outbreak

It started with three people in CT who were reported to contract salmonella from the shelled reptiles.

Dozens of people in 13 states have contracted Salmonella from pet turtles.

No deaths have been reported from the outbreak, but 16 people have been hospitalized, according to the agency. Twelve of the sick were children ages 5 or younger. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all turtles, regardless of size, can carry salmonella bacteria even if they look healthy and clean.

Almost half of the 33 people who were interviewed said they had contact with the turtles or their environments, such as water from a turtle habitat.

In interviews with nine ill people about where their turtles came from, six reported buying a turtle from a flea market or street vendor, or receiving the turtle as a gift.

The Food and Drug Administration has banned the selling of turtles with shells smaller than four inches since 1975 due to their salmonella connection.

Hence, it is advised that people should be very careful regarding their pet turtles and avoid touching them or cuddling with them and also resist their children from doing so.

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The outbreak strain has been identified as Salmonella Agbeni. Whole genome sequencing showed that the Salmonella Agbeni isolated from ill people in this outbreak is closely related genetically to the Salmonella Agbeni isolates from turtles.

Both the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration don't recommend buying turtles or gifting them. The average of age of those cases was 4, but the infections affected people from 1 to 94 years old.

Salmonella poisoning can lead to stomach cramps, diarrhea, and fever, often bad enough for hospitalization.

CDC. Take care with pet reptiles and amphibians. The FDA prohibited the distribution and sale of small turtles - those with shells four inches and smaller - in 1975. "These outbreaks are a reminder to follow simple steps to enjoy pet reptiles and keep your family healthy", the CDC said in a statement.

The CDC will continue to investigate the outbreak, which it expects to grow.

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

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