Medical Health Cluster

1 septiembre, 2022

Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Small Turtles

An online retailer,, has been identified as a source of illnesses in this multistate outbreak. Five people report buying pet turtles with shells less than 4 inches long from before getting sick. The strain of Salmonella making people sick in this outbreak was also found at the facililty. CDC continues to advise people not to purchase small turtles with shells less than 4 inches long from or from any other seller.

A federal law bans the sale and distribution of turtles with shells less than 4 inches long as pets because they have caused many illnesses. However, these turtles can sometimes be found illegally online and at stores, flea markets, and roadside stands.

Pet turtles of any size can carry Salmonella germs in their droppings even if they look healthy and clean. These germs can easily spread to their bodies, tank water, and anything in the area where they live and roam.

You can get sick from touching your turtle or anything in its environment and then touching your mouth or food with unwashed hands and swallowing Salmonella germs.

If you are thinking of getting a pet turtle:

  • Only buy turtles with shells longer than 4 inches and buy them from a reputable pet store
    • Reputable pet stores do not sell turtles with shells less than 4 inches long.
  • Pick the right pet for your family
    • Pet turtles are not recommended for children younger than 5, adults aged 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems. These people are more likely to get a serious illness from germs that turtles can carry.

Always take these steps to stay healthy around your pet turtle:

  • Wash your hands
    • Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching or feeding your turtle and after touching or cleaning the area where it lives and roams.
    • Adults should make sure young children are washing their hands properly.
  • Play safely
    • Don’t kiss or snuggle your turtle, and don’t eat or drink around it. This can spread Salmonella germs to your mouth and make you sick.
    • Keep your turtle out of your kitchen and other areas where you eat, store, or prepare food.
  • Keep things clean
    • Clean your turtle supplies outside the house, if possible. These supplies may include its tank, toys, and feeders.
    • If you clean the supplies indoors, don’t clean them in the kitchen or other areas where you eat or prepare food. Use a laundry sink or bathtub, and thoroughly clean and disinfect the area right after.

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these severe Salmonella symptoms:

  • Diarrhea and a fever higher than 102°F
  • Diarrhea for more than 3 days that is not improving
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • So much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down
  • Signs of dehydration, such as:
    • Not peeing much
    • Dry mouth and throat
    • Feeling dizzy when standing up

If you decide pet turtles are not the right fit for your family:

  • Don’t release your turtle outside
    • Call your local reptile rescue, animal shelter, or pet store about options for safely rehoming your turtle.
    • Releasing pets into the wild can disrupt wildlife and may be prohibited by law in certain states.
    • Do not sell or distribute turtles with shells less than 4 inches long.
      • A federal law bans the sale and distribution of these turtles as pets.
    • Educate customers about how to stay healthy around turtles.
      • This poster provides information on how to stay healthy around turtles.
      • Consider putting the poster right by the turtle area and giving a copy to customers who are buying them.
    • Learn more about how to protect your customers and employees from Salmonella and other diseases shared between animals and humans.
      • Read A Compendium of Measures to Prevent Zoonotic Diseases Associated with Non-Traditional Pets.

Créditos: Comité científico Covid

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