Sunday, July 12, 2015

Salmonella outbreaks attributed to pet animals

   Pediatrics - about health    Pet Turtles and Salmonella

When kids have diarrhea, pediatricians often ask their parents if they have pets at home. Specifically, they may ask if they have reptiles, like pet turtles.


Turtles and other reptiles can be sources of Salmonella bacteria, especially in infants and younger children. In fact, at least 371 people, including 62 who required hospitalization, have gotten sick after exposure to pet turtles in 41 states in an ongoing Salmonella outbreak since August 2011.

The death in 2007 of a four-week old baby that was traced to Salmonella from a pet turtle also highlights the health risks of having a turtle in their home.

While many parents are aware that you can get Salmonella from chicken, eggs, and, recently, from contaminated peanut butter, they sometimes overlook the risk from pet turtles.

What You Need To Know

  • Other reptiles besides turtles, including lizards and snakes, can also carry Salmonella, as can amphibians, such as frogs, toads, newts, and salamanders.
  • Children under age five, and children with immune system problems, are most at risk for Salmonella infections, so you shouldn't have a reptile or amphibian in your home if you have a newborn, infant, toddler, or preschool age child at home.
  • If you do have a pet turtle at home, don't let it roam around freely, which can contaminate all of the surfaces it walks on, walk around your kitchen, or anywhere you prepare food.
  • Don't wash your turtle's water dish or aquarium in your kitchen sink or bathtub, since you might contaminate them with Salmonella if you do.
  • Turtles with Salmonella aren't themselves sick and don't have any symptoms.
  • The sale of baby turtles has been banned in the United States since 1975, but they are increasingly being sold again in recent years.
  • Several reports have documented that free-living turtles do not seem to be carriers of Salmonella, but that is likely because they are living in the wild. If you make a wild turtle a pet and keep it in an aquarium in your home, it may become contaminated with Salmonella too. Kids should wash their hands after handling wild turtles, even if they may not have Salmonella.
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Pet chickens and ducks causing  outbreaks of Salmonella

Live poultry, such as chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys, often carry harmful germs called Salmonella. After you touch a bird, or anything in the area where they live and roam, wash your hands so you don't get sick!

An increasing number of people around the country are choosing to keep live poultry, such as chickens or ducks, as part of a greener, healthier lifestyle. While you enjoy the benefits of backyard chickens and other poultry, it is important to consider the risk of illness, especially for children, which can result from handling live poultry or anything in the area where they live and roam.

CDC is collaborating with public health, veterinary, and agriculture officials in many states and with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) to investigate four multistate outbreaks of human Salmonella infections linked to contact with live poultry.

In the four outbreaks, a total of 181 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella have been reported from 40 states as of June 29, 2015. The number of ill people identified in each state is as follows: Alabama (17), Arizona (3), Arkansas (4), California (3), Colorado (2), Delaware (2), Georgia (4), Indiana (3), Iowa (1), Kentucky (4), Louisiana (2), Maine (2), Maryland (4), Massachusetts (1), Michigan (3), Minnesota (6), Mississippi (13), Missouri (1), Montana (3), Nevada (2), New Hampshire (1), New Jersey (3), New Mexico (2), New York (6), North Carolina (3), Ohio (15), Oklahoma (1), Oregon (5), Pennsylvania (12), South Carolina (10), South Dakota (2), Tennessee (6), Texas (5), Utah (4), Vermont (2), Virginia (11), Washington (6), West Virginia (2), Wisconsin (1), and Wyoming (4).

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