Tiny Pet Blamed for Salmonella Outbreak
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has just issued a salmonella warning against small and surprisingly, illegal pet turtles.
The latest CDC study revealed that salmonella cases are on the rise in 30 states. Specifically, there are six recent outbreaks that are directly linked to these small turtles.
For those of us who still have these small turtles at home, you may be carrying illegal contraband. Since 1975, it is considered illegal to sell turtles with shells shorter than 4 inches. The reason? These small turtles are able to breed the Salmonella strain through waste that sometimes remains on their shells.
With their developing immune systems, young children are specifically affected by this bacteria, which in some cases can be deadly.
“Young children are ingenious in constructing ways to infect themselves,” explained Joseph Paige, a Consumer Safety Officer for the FDA. “They put the small turtles in their mouths or, more often, they touch the turtles or dangle their fingers in the turtle tank water and then put their hands in their mouths. Also, sometimes the tanks and reptile paraphernalia are cleaned in the kitchen sink, and food and eating utensils get cross-contaminated.”
“All reptiles and amphibians are commonly contaminated with Salmonella,” he also added. “But it is the small turtles that most often are put in contact with young children, where consequences of infection are likely to be severe.”