Turtles Caused Many Of The Salmonella Outbreaks This Year

Francis Osborne
August 31, 2017

Turtles are known to carry the salmonella bacteria on their shells or skin but they do not get sick from the bacteria.

An outbreak of i Salmonella /i linked to pet turtles has sickened 37 people in more than a dozen states, CDC reported Tuesday.

Despite the frustration of continued outbreaks, the CDC's Nichols says the number of illnesses we see now is much smaller than it would be if the tiny turtle ban and warnings were not in place.

An advisory note posted on the CDC website informed that about 37 Salmonella Agbeni cases were found from 13 states starting from the month of March to 3rd of August this year. Although no deaths have been recorded, at least 16 people have been hospitalized as a result of contracting the bacteria. Twelve (32%) ill people are children 5 years of age or younger. Fifteen (45 percent) of the 33 people interviewed reported contact with turtles or their environments, such as water from a turtle habitat, before getting sick.

If you have a pet turtle, the CDC recommends against giving it free range in the house.

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Normally a foodborne illness, salmonellosis is being linked to contact with turtles in these cases based on epidemiologic and laboratory findings. Whole genome sequencing showed that the Salmonella Agbeni isolated from ill people in this outbreak is closely related genetically to the Salmonella Agbeni isolated from turtles.

Among the CDC's advice to pet owners is avoid keeping turtles or other reptiles in households with young children.

Salmonella poisoning can lead to stomach cramps, diarrhea, and fever, often bad enough for hospitalization. They say all turtles can carry salmonella bacteria even if they look healthy and clean. Most people feel better between five and seven days of being sick.

"This close genetic relationship means that people in this outbreak are more likely to share a common source of infection", the CDC's statement said. Pet reptiles in general seem to be suspect, according to the CDC. "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".

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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