A salmonella outbreak across 11 states has been connected with small pet turtles, resulting in 26 people falling sick and nine hospitalizations, according to the CDC.
Driving the news: The CDC traced the salmonella outbreak back to October 2022, with the most recent case reported in July 2023.
* The 11 impacted states include California, Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York.
* The CDC suspects the actual number of sick people is much higher, as many recover without medical care or salmonella testing.
Initial findings: Of the 20 infected people providing information to the CDC on the source of their infection, 16 reported interaction with pet turtles.
* Despite appearing clean, pet turtles can harbor Salmonella germs in their droppings, which can spread to their bodies, tank water, and surrounding environment.
Pet turtle ownership guidelines: The CDC warns against keeping turtles with shells smaller than four inches, which are especially likely to cause illness, as pets.
* Among those giving information about the turtle they came into contact with, 12 reported it had a shell smaller than four inches.
* Advisories include thorough hand washing after handling turtles or their habitat, avoiding kissing or cuddling turtles, and cleaning pet items with specially designated tools and disinfecting any sinks or tubs used for this purpose.
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