Header graphic for print

Food Safety News

Breaking news for everyone's consumption

More Salmonella Cases Linked to Tiny Turtles

CDC reporting 149 illnesses in 28 states

Investigations into five ongoing Salmonella outbreaks – all linked to contact with small turtles – have revealed 19 more cases and a sixth outbreak from another strain of the bacteria.

Health officials now report that Salmonella Poona, Strain B, caused 6 illnesses in 3 states between April 1 and May 26, 2012. Those states include Arizona (1), Pennsylvania (4) and Texas (1).

This cluster of illnesses has been added to five others that were identified in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s last update on turtle-related outbreaks, published on May 10. The earliest illnesses linked to tiny turtles were identified in June of 2011; the latest have occurred as recently as June of 2012. The other outbreaks include:

Salmonella Sandiego, Strain A 

A total of 62 people have been sickened by Salmonella Sandiego, up from a count of 55 reported in May. One of the new cases was came from a different strain – Salmonella Newport, Strain A – but is still thought to be connected to this outbreak.

The 7 new cases include three from California, one from New Mexico, one from Nevada, and two from Texas.

The up-to-date case count by state is as follows: California (10), Georgia (1), Illinois (1), Massachusetts (2), Maryland (5), Minnesota (1), North Carolina (1), New Jersey (6), New Mexico (4), Nevada (1), New York (19), Pennsylvania (7), South Carolina (1), Texas (1) and Virginia (1).

Ten of these victims were hospitalized.

Patients range in age from less than one to 86, with a median age of 8. Sixty-one percent of them are female.

Salmonella, Strain A was identified in water from a turtle tank in the home of a person infected with Salmonella Sandiego, Strain A.

Salmonella Pomona, Strain A

A total of 11 people in 8 states have been infected with this strain. Two new cases have been reported since CDC’s May update, one in New York and one in Pennsylvania. The number of people identified in each state is as follows: California (2), Massachusetts (1), Maryland (1), New Jersey (1), New York (2), Pennsylvania (2), Texas (1) and Vermont (1).

Three of these victims have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Ill persons range from less than one to 90 years old, with a median age of 16. Seventy-three percent are female.

Salmonella Poona, Strain A

A total of 17 people in 9 states have been infected with Salmonella Poona. Two new cases were reported, one in Tennessee and one in Texas, bringing the case count, by state, to the following: Alabama (1), Arizona (2), Califonia (3), Indiana (1), Kentucky (1), Michigan (1), New York (3), Tennessee (1) and Texas (4).

Four of the victims were hospitalized.

Patients range in age from less than one to 70; the median age is three. Sixty-nine percent of patients are female.

In May of 2012, two water samples taken from the home of an infected person tested positive for Salmonella Poona, Strain A.

Salmonella Sandiego, Strain B

No new illnesses have been reported in this outbreak. The case count remains steady at 6. Victims are from 3 states, including Colorado (3), Nevada (2) and Texas (1).

In May of 2012, samples of turtle tank water from the homes of two infected individuals tested positive for Salmonella Sandiego, Strain B.

Salmonella Pomona, Strain B

Salmonella Pomona, Strain B has infected 47 individuals from 18 states. The 8 new cases are from Alabama (1), Arizona (1), California (2), Nevada (1), South Carolina (1), Tennessee (1) and Texas (1).

The total number of cases by state is as follows: Alaska (2), Alabama (1), Arizona (2), California (11), Colorado (2), Delaware (3), Georgia (2), Michigan (1), Nevada (3), New York (1), Ohio (2), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (1), South Carolina (3), Tennessee (1), Texas (8), Virginia (2) and West Virginia (1).

Patients range in age from less than one to 86, with a median age of two. Forty-nine percent of these victims are female. Out of 30 people with available information, 9 report being hospitalized.

The Southern Nevada Health District said Monday that the 6 Nevada victims – all from Clark County – each reported having contact with pet turtles.

“It is important for the public to know that contact with reptiles (such as turtles, iguanas, snakes, and lizards) can be a source of human Salmonella infections,” warned SNHD in its Monday statement. “Small turtles, with a shell length of less than 4 inches, are a well known source of human Salmonella infections, especially among small children.”

The CDC recommends following these steps to avoid contracting a Salmonella infection from tiny turtles:

– Do not purchase turtles with a shell length of less than 4 inches in size.

– Do not give turtles with a shell length of less than 4 inches in size as gifts.

– Keep turtles out of homes with children younger than 5 years old, elderly persons, or people with weakened immune systems.

– Turtles and other reptiles should not be kept in child care centers, schools, or other facilities with children younger than 5 years old.

– Contact with other reptiles (snakes and lizards) and amphibians (frogs and toads) can also be a source of human Salmonella infections.

– If you buy a turtle, make sure the shell length is greater than 4 inches.

Symptoms of a Salmonella infection include nausea, abdominal cramps, diarrhea (sometimes bloody), vomiting, fever, chills, headache and muscle pains.

If you think you may have contracted a Salmonella infection, contact your healthcare provider.

© Food Safety News
  • alma gonzalez

    hi i have to little turtles in their little tank but i just notices that one has its eyes completly shut and the other has the same thing around its eys but has them opend… i change their water every 3 to 4 days but this week i had lots of things to do and it took me a bit longer to change their water about 5 days or 6…. i hadnt notice till i saw one that got out the little tanke that that was wrong and i was looking for some info on how to cure them but i cant seem to find any info and im am reallly worried for them please tell me wat to do you can find me on facebook faster please help me please i dont want to loose my turtles please