West News Wire: As a result of a salmonella outbreak connected to small turtles that has sickened at least 26 people across 11 states, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued a warning to consumers not to “kiss or cuddle your turtle.” 

After dozens of people were ill in recent months, public health authorities declared that they are looking into a “multistate outbreak” of salmonella connected to tiny turtles, according to the CDC. 

A federal rule prohibits the sale and distribution of turtles with shells shorter than 4 inches because they have been linked to numerous ailments, particularly in young children, according to the CDC. 

“Despite the ban, these turtles can sometimes be found illegally online and at stores, flea markets, and roadside stands,” continued the CDC. “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 a turtle or anything in its environment and then touching your mouth or food with unwashed hands and swallowing Salmonella germs.” 

Any turtle can transmit salmonella bacteria, but those with shells shorter than four inches are known to be a cause of sickness, according to experts. 

There have been nine hospitalizations and no deaths to date from this outbreak, according to public health experts, who also revealed that at least 26 known individuals have been reported throughout 11 states. 

Salmonella symptoms include diarrhoea, fever, and stomach pains, and they can appear anywhere between six hours and six days after consuming the bacteria, according to health officials. 

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While most people recover without treatment after four to seven days, some people typically kids under five, seniors over 65, or those with compromised immune systems may experience the sickness more severely and require medical attention or even hospitalization. 

There are actions that you can take to limit potential exposure if you are thinking of getting a pet turtle, have one already or are exposed to one. 

The CDC advises consumers to only purchase turtles with shells that are longer than four inches and to do so from a trustworthy pet retailer since “reputable pet stores do not sell turtles with shells less than 4 inches long.” 

Always thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water after handling or feeding your turtle, as well as after handling or maintaining the environment where it resides and forages. Children should wash their hands properly, and adults should monitor this, the CDC warned. 

In addition to not eating or drinking around your turtle, authorities advise against kissing and cuddling it. Salmonella germs from this can get into your mouth and get you sick. Do not let your turtle enter the kitchen or any other room where you make, store, or consume food. 

One thing you should not do is release your turtle outside. 

“Call your local reptile rescue, animal shelter, or pet store about options for safely rehoming your turtle,” the CDC said in their statement announcing the outbreak. “Releasing pets into the wild can disrupt wildlife and may be prohibited by law in certain states.” 

Ultimately, do your best to keep things clean and be sure to call your healthcare provider right away if any symptoms become severe. 


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