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It started with three people in CT who were reported to contract salmonella from the shelled reptiles.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued its latest alert on Tuesday, saying a multistate outbreak of salmonella Agbeni suspected of being spread via turtle-human contact has sickened 37 people in 13 states since March. A third of the cases were in children 5 years of age or younger. New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio and CT had the highest number of reported infections.

Salmonella infection symptoms include fever, diarrhea and abdominal pain. The disease can last anywhere between 4 to 7 days, and in some cases, people recover without any treatment.

CDC. Take care with pet reptiles and amphibians. Even the smallest ones could be the most risky.

Although it is reported that turtles of any size can contain the Salmonella bacteria but mostly tiny turtles are considered to be riskier. These outbreaks are a reminder to follow simple steps to enjoy pet reptiles and keep your family healthy. "They've busted two turtle vendors in Montgomery County in the past two weeks: One for selling the turtles to a Silver Spring store; the other for hawking them at the Six Flags parking lot". If you use the bathtub, thoroughly clean it with bleach after. Whole genome sequencing showed that the Salmonella Agbeni isolated from ill people in this outbreak is closely related genetically to the Salmonella Agbeni isolated from turtles.

Keep turtles out of homes with children younger than 5 years, adults older than 65 years, or people with weakened immune systems.

Although this may not come as a surprise to anyone suspicious of murky green aquarium water, turtles aren't exactly the healthiest pets. The result linked salmonella infections in U.S. citizens with a bacteria carried by those tiny turtles.

Tiny turtles may be adorable - but they're the source of a salmonella outbreak. "Releasing unwanted turtles into the wild is not recommended".

But, as ElBoghdady wrote, investigators have tried to crack down on a "thriving black market" of suspect pets, including turtles raised on farms and sold at flea markets. "Talk to your veterinarian about other options".