MEDFORD, Ore. — A house pet the size of your hand is to blame for a salmonella outbreak across the nation. Over a hundred people are infected with the bacteria-borne illness and a pet turtle is the culprit.
A report by the Center For Disease Control and Prevention shows 196 people are infected with salmonella in 31 states. There has been one case in Oregon, but the CDC does not indicate where in Oregon the infection occurred.
Out of those 196 people, less than a quarter of them have been hospitalized. The majority of those infected reported being exposed to small turtles those with a shell length less than 4 inches. Those smaller turtles are banned from being sold by the Food and Drug Administration since 1975 because they have been a known source of the bacteria.
Local health officials say when those turtles are let out of their aquarium the bacteria can get transferred to humans through their shell or droppings and it’s especially dangerous for children who can have weaker immune systems. It’s not just turtles but any reptiles can also carry the bacteria. Health officials recommend washing your hands every time you touch a turtle and keep them in their aquarium.
For more information consult the CDC’s Salmonella Outbreak Report online.