They are tiny and oh so cute but these tiny turtles with shells less than 4-inches are infecting people with various salmonella strains in multiple states (Arizona included).
Here’s what the CDC has to say a/o March 30, 2012: (plus updates)
A total of 72 persons infected with outbreak strains of Salmonella Sandiego, Salmonella Pomona, and Salmonella Poona have been reported from 17 states.
The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Arizona (2), California (12), Georgia (1), Indiana (1), Kentucky (1), Massachusetts (3), Maryland (6), Michigan (1), Minnesota (1), North Carolina (1), New Jersey (6), New Mexico (3), New York (21), Pennsylvania (7), Texas (4), Virginia (1), and Vermont (1)
12 ill persons have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported. 59% of ill persons are children 10 years of age or younger.
Results of the epidemiologic and environmental investigations indicate exposure to turtles or their environments (e.g., water from a turtle habitat) is the cause of these outbreaks.
Small turtles (shell length less than 4 inches) were reported by 92% of cases. Forty-three percent of ill persons with small turtles reported purchasing the turtles from street vendors.
Turtles with a shell length of less than 4 inches in size should not be purchased or given as gifts.
Keep turtles out of homes with children younger than 5 years old, elderly persons, 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 years old.
Click here to find out how to dispose of these tiny turtles if they are in your possession.
Children are the most likely to get salmonellosis. The rate of diagnosed infections in children less than five years old is higher than the rate in all other persons. Young children, the elderly, and the immuno-compromised are the most likely to have severe infections. It is estimated that approximately 400 persons die each year with acute salmonella.