Thursday, 17 October, 2019

Pet turtles linked to salmonella outbreak across 13 states, CDC says

Turtles  CDC Turtles CDC
Anna Jefferson | 12 October, 2019, 05:25

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that the agency and public health officials in several states are investigating a multistate outbreak of human Salmonella Oranienburg infections linked to contact with pet turtles. Seven people have been hospitalized, but there have been no deaths.

Turtle droppings are often a source of salmonella bacteria, according to the CDC, which notes these germs can spread to other areas within the turtle's water tank or habitat.

The CDC states that people shouldn't "kiss or snuggle" with turtles, and they should wash their hands after touching the pets.

For the most recent case counts in the Salmonella Oranienburg outbreak linked to contact with pet turtles, check out the Contagion® Outbreak Monitor. Other states where multiple cases were reported were Illinois, New York and Washington.

The CDC advises pet owners to thoroughly wash their hands following contact with pet turtles.

Thorough hand washing, cleaning habitats outside the home and not letting turtles roam freely in areas where food is prepared are all ways to prevent illness.

Avoid cleaning these items in the kitchen or any other location where food is prepared, served, or stored.

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So far, there have been no reports of illness or any health concerns from anyone who has consumed the chicken in question. As of this writing, no one has been declared ill due to eating a Tip Top Poultry product with the bacterium.

Salmonella infections can cause diarrhea, vomiting, fever and abdominal cramps.

The illness usually lasts four to seven days and officials say most people recover without treatment. Illnesses are more likely to be severe in the elderly and infants, according to the CDC, which estimates salmonella causes about 1.2 million illnesses in the US each year.

Whole genome sequencing analysis did not identify antibiotic resistance in bacterial isolates from ill individuals. Testing of three outbreak isolates using standard antibiotic susceptibility testing methods by CDC's National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) laboratory confirmed these results.

Epidemiologic and traceback investigations point to contact with pet turtles as the likely source of the outbreak.

In interviews, ill people answered questions about animal contact in the week before they became ill.

Reptiles, including turtles, can have salmonella on their bodies, even though they're clean. "People should know that reptiles and amphibians carry Salmonella".

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