I don’t have a pet turtle, but if I did. I’d apparently be upping my risk of getting a salmonella infection. Steven Reinberg of HealthDay News reports:Actually,
According to the report, cases were reported in all but 15 states, with most cases occurring in California, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Texas.Personally, I’m more of a hermit crab guy.
Two of the infected children included a 13-year-old girl and a 15-year-old girl who became stricken after swimming in an unchlorinated in-ground pool owned by the family of the older girl. Two pet turtles, purchased at a South Carolina pet store and owned by the family of the older teen, were allowed to swim in the pool, the CDC reported.
Harris said many people aren't aware of the risk of Salmonella infections from pet turtles. "Only 20 percent of these cases [in the report] said they were aware there was a connection between Salmonella infection and reptile exposure," she said.
Up to 90 percent of turtles carry Salmonella, Harris said. "This is a very serious infection, especially for small children," she added.
The infection is spread from contact with the turtles, but the contact doesn't have to be direct, Harris said. "We have one case where a baby was bathed in a sink that turtle waste was disposed in," she said.
In some cases, the children put the turtle in their mouth. In other cases, children became sick from just living in the same house with a turtle or other infected family members. Salmonella can live on surfaces for weeks, Harris noted.