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The Scoop: Turtles and Salmonella

Turtles have been making their way into the news lately with a multi-state outbreak of human salmonella infections associated with exposure to these reptiles. At least 103 cases have been reported since May 2007, and have resulted in the treatment and hospitalization of children in 33 states. While the risks of salmonella presented by turtles is not news to me, I'll admit that I am a bit shocked that the sale of small turtles (with shells of less than four inches) has been illegal in the United States since 1975! Not only do I distinctly recall seeing tiny turtles in pet shops as a kid in the '80's, I also remember seeing them sold on the streets of NYC as recently as 2002. For your own safety, please do not purchase illegal turtles and continue to help educate others about the dangers of this outbreak which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is calling the largest of its kind ever traced to salmonella found in the little creatures.


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