An Indiana resident is among 21 people from across the country connected to a salmonella outbreak investigation.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said people in 13 states reported getting sick and evidence indicates contact with pet turtles may be the cause.
Of the 17 people that the CDC interviewed, 12 of them reported contact with a turtle prior to becoming ill. People also reported buying a pet turtle or getting one as a pet.
The CDC reminds pet owners that while turtles may appear healthy, they can carry Salmonella germs in their droppings. The germs can then spread to their bodies, tank water and habitats.
People who own or contact turtles should follow these steps to stay healthy.
- Wash your hands.
- Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching, feeding, or caring for a turtle or cleaning its habitat.
- Adults should supervise hand washing for young children.
- Play safely.
- Don’t kiss or snuggle turtles, because this can spread Salmonella germs to your face and mouth and make you sick.
- Don’t let turtles roam freely in areas where food is prepared or stored, such as kitchens.
- Clean habitats, toys, and pet supplies outside the house when possible.
- Avoid cleaning these items in the kitchen or any other location where food is prepared, served, or stored.
- Pick the right pet for your family.
- Children under 5 years of age, adults aged 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems are at a greater risk for serious illness. Households with these people should consider a different pet.
- Educate customers and employees.
- Pet stores, breeders, or others that sell or display turtles should provide educational materials.