The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned the sale and distribution of turtles with a shell length of less than 4 inches since 1975. However, small turtles continue to cause human Salmonella infections, especially among young children.
CDC is collaborating with public health officials in multiple states and the FDA to investigate 6 overlapping, multistate outbreaks of human Salmonella infections linked to exposure to turtles or their environments (e.g., water from a turtle habitat). More than 160 illnesses have been reported from 30 states; 64 percent of ill persons are children age 10 or younger, and 27 percent of ill persons are children age one year or younger. Fifty-six percent of ill persons are Hispanic.
Don’t buy small turtles from street vendors, websites, pet stores, or other sources.
Keep reptiles out of homes with young children or people with weakened immune systems.
Reptiles should not be kept in child care centers, nursery schools, or other facilities with young children.
ALWAYS wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water immediately after touching a reptile or anything in the area where they live and roam. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available. Adults should always supervise hand washing for young children.
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