CDC: Salmonella infections linked to small turtles

August 15, 2012

Washington – Since June 2011, 168 individuals in 30 states have fallen ill from Salmonella strains associated with small turtles, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Thirty-four people have been hospitalized, but no fatalities have been reported, CDC stated. Nearly two-thirds of reported cases involved children 10 or younger, and more than one-fourth involved children 1 or younger. The primary cause of exposure was contact with a 4-inch or smaller turtle or their environment.

CDC provides the following tips to prevent contracting Salmonella from small turtles:

  • Do not purchase turtles with a shell length of less than 4 inches.
  • Keep turtles out of homes with children younger than 5, elderly people or people with weakened immune systems.
  • Turtles and other reptiles should not be kept in child care centers, schools or other facilities with children younger than 5.

Contact with other reptiles (such as snakes and lizards) and amphibians (such as frogs and toads) can also be a source of Salmonella infection, CDC said.