Salmonella Outbreaks Linked to Small Turtles
In the four outbreaks, a total of 133 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella were reported from 26 states between January 2015 and April 2016.
- Since 2015, CDC, multiple states, U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine have investigated four separate multistate outbreaks of human Salmonella infections linked to contact with small turtles.
- In the four outbreaks, a total of 133 people infected with the outbreak strains ofSalmonella were reported from 26 states between January 16, 2015 and April 8, 2016.
- 38 ill people were hospitalized, and no deaths were reported.
- 41% of ill people were children 5 years of age or younger.
- Epidemiologic and laboratory findings linked the four outbreaks of human Salmonellainfections to contact with small turtles or their environments, such as water from a turtle habitat.
- Since 1975, the FDA has banned the sale and distribution of turtles with a shell length of less than 4 inches in size as pets because they are often linked to Salmonellainfections, especially in young children.
- Small turtles should not be purchased as pets or given as gifts.
- All turtles, regardless of size, can carry Salmonella bacteria even if they look healthy and clean. These outbreaks are a reminder to follow simple steps to enjoy pet reptiles and keep your family healthy.
- The outbreak is expected to continue at a low level for the next several months since consumers might be unaware of the risk of Salmonella infection from small turtles. If properly cared for, turtles have a long life expectancy.
For the full poster on The Trouble With Tiny Turtles, visit http://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/resources/trouble-with-tiny-turtles.pdf.
For information about the outbreaks and how to prevent them in the future, visit http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/small-turtles-10-15/index.html.