The U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) announced that pet turtles may be the source of a Salmonella Oranienburg outbreak that has already made 21 people sick across 13 states and sent seven to the hospital.
The first reported case in this outbreak began on May 29 of 2019.
Salmonella may cause fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal cramping, bloating, and diarrhea. It can even cause death in those with weaker immune systems, such as the young and old.
In general, the CDC says to keep turtles away from children under five years of age, adults 65 years of age and older, and anyone else with a weaker immune system. In these high-risk groups Salmonella infections can be more serious and more likely to be deadly.
National Geographic says, “129 of approximately 300 species of turtle and tortoise on Earth today are either vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the sales and distribution of turtles with shells less than four inches long.