The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its information on a Salmonella outbreak linked to pet turtles, which includes 33 new cases and 7 more affected states. There are now 59 illnesses and 23 hospitalizations in an outbreak affecting 18 states. No deaths have been reported.
Pennsylvania has 10 cases, Tennessee has 7, and California has 6. Illnesses started on dates ranging from October 27, 2022, to August 26, 2023. The median age of cases is 7, and 39% are under the age of 5.
"State and local public health officials interviewed people about the animals they had contact with in the week before they got sick," the CDC said. "Of the 46 people who provided this information, 33 (72%) reported contact with pet turtles. Of the 26 people who reported the size of the pet turtle, 26 (100%) reported contact with pet turtles with shells less than 4 inches long."
Selling pet turtles less than 4 inches long is federally banned as the animals are linked to a number of infections. But the animals are relatively easily to obtain online, or at some pet shops.
The CDC urges people to always wash their hands after handling pet turtles, only buy turtles larger than 4 inches, and avoid kissing the turtles.