TINY TURTLES SPREADING SALMONELLA
Contact with reptiles (such as turtles, snakes, and lizards) and amphibians (such as frogs and toads) can be a source of human Salmonella infections. Salmonella germs are shed in the droppings of reptiles and amphibians and can easily contaminate their bodies and the water in tanks or aquariums where these animals live, which can spread to people.
The Food and Drug Administration has banned the sale and distribution of turtles with a shell length of less than 4 inches since 1975. However, small turtles continue to cause human Salmonella infections, especially among young children.
The CDC is collaborating with public health officials in multiple states and the FDA to investigate six overlapping, multi-state outbreaks of human Salmonella infections linked to exposure to turtles or their environments such as water from a turtle habitat. More than 160 illnesses have been reported from 30 states; 64 percent of ill persons are children age 10 or younger, and 27 percent of ill persons are children age one year or younger. Fifty-six percent of thowse ill are Hispanic.
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