CDC says turtles are to blame after 16 people hospitalized with salmonella

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CDC says turtles are to blame after 16 people hospitalized with salmonella

In close to half the cases this year, the patients said that they have had some kind of contact with a turtle, wither by interacting with the animals directly or touching the turtle's environment, like the water they live in.

The disease has been reported in 13 states.

Pet turtles are at the center of a multi-state salmonella outbreak, the CDC stated.

The outbreak - which includes 12 cases in children 5 and younger - has been connected to contact with turtles.

The CDC reported that at least 37 people in 13 states - including Connecticut, New Jersey, and NY -were infected between March 1 and August 3, 2017. However, the diarrhea can be so severe that the patient may need hospitalization. Almost half of those infected have been hospitalized, which is "a little bit higher than we typically see", says Megin Nichols, a CDC veterinarian who investigates these kind of outbreaks.

On Tuesday, the agency said 13 states are now investigating outbreaks of salmonella linked to contact with the hard-shelled reptiles.

Turtles carry salmonella bacteria on their shell and skin, which does not affect them but transmits to humans. If you use the bathtub, thoroughly clean it with bleach after. However, if an individual ever has direct contact with one, it's important to clean that part of the body immediately.

Health officials performed a genome sequencing in 2015 using samples taken from small turtles sold by typical vendors in the streets.

The CDC will continue to investigate the outbreak, which it expects to grow.

Children are especially at risk, because, as The Post's Dina ElBoghdady wrote in 2012, "kids couldn't resist kissing the toylike reptiles or placing them in their mouths, sometimes contaminating themselves with the salmonella commonly found on turtles".

Turtles and other reptiles should not be kept in child care centers, schools, or other facilities with children younger than 5 years.

In 2013, 473 cases of turtle-related Salmonella outbreaks were reported in 43 states. And don't release unwanted animals into the environment. The FDA prohibited the distribution and sale of small turtles - those with shells four inches and smaller - in 1975. "Talk to your veterinarian about other options".

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