Americans should heed a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warning about pet turtles making people sick.
The CDC is investigating a Salmonella outbreak reported in several states across the country, including Florida, linked to purchases of small turtles.
Many people in this outbreak reported purchasing turtles with shells less than 4 inches long from online stores before getting sick. Three people in this outbreak purchased their turtles from a website called myturtlestore.com. The same strain of Salmonella making people sick in this outbreak was also found on turtles purchased from myturtlestore.com.
A federal law bans the sale and distribution of turtles less than 4 inches long as pets. However, these turtles can sometimes be found illegally online and at stores, flea markets, and roadside stands.
Pet turtles of any size can carry Salmonella germs in their droppings even if they look healthy and clean. These germs can easily spread to their bodies, tank water, and anything in the area where they live and roam.
You can get sick from touching your turtle or anything in its environment and then touching your mouth or food with unwashed hands and swallowing Salmonella germs.