A salmonella outbreak linked to pet turtles has sickened at least 21 people in 13 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The reported illnesses are a result of Salmonella Oranienburg. Seven people have been hospitalized, but there have been no deaths.
Red-Eared Sliders Among Culprits
The CDC also says red-eared sliders and turtles that were larger than 4 inches may be to blame for the outbreak:
“Ill people reported contact with red-eared sliders and other turtles that were larger than four inches in length. Previous Salmonella outbreaks have been linked to turtles with a shell length [of] less than 4 inches."
They Were In Contact With Them Before Getting Sick
The CDC put out a statement Wednesday, saying that 12 of 17 people who spoke with the government agency said they had been in contact with a pet turtle right before they got sick.
“Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicate that contact with pet turtles is the likely source of this outbreak,” says the CDC.
Cases Across Several States
Cases have been reported in California, Vermont, Washington state, Illinois, Nebraska, New Jersey, Michigan, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, New York and Tennessee.
The CDC states that people shouldn't "kiss or snuggle" with turtles, and they should wash their hands after touching the pets. People also shouldn't let turtles roam around areas where food is being prepared.