Navigation Links
Pet Turtles Linked to Rise in Salmonella Infections
Date:1/24/2008

They're banned for sale by law, yet many parents are unaware of health risks, experts say,,,,

THURSDAY, Jan. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Small pet turtles were to blame for 103 cases of Salmonella infection in the second half of last year, mostly in young children, U.S. health officials said Thursday.

But the true number of infections with the potentially fatal bacteria is undoubtedly much higher, officials added.

Even though the sale of small turtles has been banned in the United States since 1975, the number of these reptiles being purchased for children has been increasing, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"This is a larger number of cases than we would usually see," said Julie Harris, a CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer. "We haven't documented such a large number of cases before associated with turtle exposure."

No deaths have been reported, but the infections led to the hospitalization of dozens of children, the CDC said.

The number of turtles owned by Americans has almost doubled in the last five years to more than 2 million, Harris said. This, despite the fact that "there is a ban on the sale of turtles that are under 4 inches in length," she said.

The 103 cases that Harris and colleagues reported in the Jan. 25 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report represent just a fraction of the total number of salmonella infections from pet turtles, she said.

According to the report, cases were reported in all but 15 states, with most cases occurring in California, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Texas.

Two of the infected children included a 13-year-old girl and a 15-year-old girl who became stricken after swimming in an unchlorinated in-ground pool owned by the family of the older girl. Two pet turtles, purchased at a South Carolina pet store and owned by the family of the older teen, were allowed to swim in the pool, the CDC reported.

Harris said many people aren't aware of the risk of Salmonella infections from pet turtles. "Only 20 percent of these cases [in the report] said they were aware there was a connection between Salmonella infection and reptile exposure," she said.

Up to 90 percent of turtles carry Salmonella, Harris said. "This is a very serious infection, especially for small children," she added.

The infection is spread from contact with the turtles, but the contact doesn't have to be direct, Harris said. "We have one case where a baby was bathed in a sink that turtle waste was disposed in," she said.

In some cases, the children put the turtle in their mouth. In other cases, children became sick from just living in the same house with a turtle or other infected family members. Salmonella can live on surfaces for weeks, Harris noted.

Adults can get sick from Salmonella, Harris said, but children get much sicker, and some can die, she said. "Small children should not be allowed to come into contact with turtles, the outcome is too dangerous and the risk is too high," she said.

According to the CDC, Salmonella infection remains a major public health problem in the United States. Each year, 1.4 million cases are reported, an estimated 15,000 people are hospitalized, and 400 Americans die.

Gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea, caused by the bacteria, typically begin 12 to 36 hours after exposure and generally last for two to seven days.

Reptiles and amphibians, including turtles, account for about 6 percent of all Salmonella cases and 11 percent of cases for those under 21.

One infectious-disease expert strongly advised parents not to buy these turtles as pets for their children.

"This is a problem that has been with us for more than 40 years," said Dr. Pascal James Imperato, the distinguished service professor and chair of the department of preventive medicine and community health and director of the master of public health program at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in New York City.

Children tend to handle these turtles a great deal, Imperato said. "Their fingers come into contact with all the material on the turtle and in the water. Then. there is finger-to-mouth contact, and they acquire the infection," he said.

Imperato said that to protect themselves, people who handle these turtles should wash their hands after touching the animals. But Salmonella-contaminated water can be splashed onto surfaces and cause the germ to spread.

Also, most people aren't likely to wash their hands thoroughly after they have handled a turtle or come into contact with contaminated objects or water, he said.

"The best strategy is not to purchase these turtles," Imperato said.

More information

For more on the Salmonella-turtle connection, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



SOURCES: Julie Harris, Ph.D., Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta; Pascal James Imperato, M.D., distinguished service professor, and chair, department of preventive medicine and community health and director, master of public health program, State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, New York City; Jan. 25, 2008, CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report


'/>"/>
Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Pot bellies linked to early signs of cardiovascular disease
2. Diet high in meat, fat and refined grains linked to risk for colon cancer recurrence, death
3. Immune deficiency linked to a type of eye cancer
4. Drop in breast cancer incidence linked to hormone use, not mammograms
5. Clinical depression linked to abnormal emotional brain circuits
6. Air pollution linked to cardiovascular risk indices in healthy young adults
7. High pollution linked to poor lung function growth in children in Mexico City
8. Early Weight Loss in Women Linked to Dementia
9. Vitamin Es lack of heart benefit linked to dosage
10. Sugary Sodas High in Diabetes-Linked Compound
11. RA Drugs Linked to Slight Skin Cancer Risk
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Pet Turtles Linked to Rise in <i>Salmonella</i> Infections
(Date:5/29/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 29, 2016 , ... Whole Health ... Amazon.com, their new KlipPro KP-240L clipper is available to the public. This is an ... is substantially wider than the average clipper. , Everything about this product is concentrated ...
(Date:5/28/2016)... ... May 28, 2016 , ... After a year and a half of planning the ... extraordinary event. The Multiple Pathways of Recovery Conference was held May 2 -4, 2016 ... and the United Kingdom came together to explore the many pathways individuals use to get ...
(Date:5/27/2016)... ... , ... W.S. Badger Co. Inc ., the maker of certified organic ... one of the best small businesses for new dads by Fatherly, the digital lifestyle ... providing progressive benefits to new parents on the organization’s 2016 Best Places to ...
(Date:5/27/2016)... ... May 27, 2016 , ... In response ... many who are unaware of the plight of aphasia. In collaboration with the ... “Stroke Awareness” campaign. , The link between stroke and aphasia is relatively unknown, ...
(Date:5/27/2016)... ... ... With a team of certified experts, Validation Center is ... GMP accreditation, Validation Center is also a registered authority of the international system ... Validation Center is ISO17025 accredited and only offers its clients the latest technology, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/27/2016)... , May 27, 2016 LabStyle ... Dario™ Diabetes Management Tool, today announced that the Company,s Chief ... Marcum MicroCap Conference being held June 1-2 in ... being held June 7-9 in Los Angeles, CA. ... discuss recent corporate and operational milestones, including the U.S. FDA ...
(Date:5/27/2016)... Kitov Pharmaceuticals ... late-stage drug development, today announced the completion of ... batches required for registration of KIT-302 with the ... Kitov,s announcement in December 2015, that ... primary efficacy endpoint. "We are fortunate ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... 2016 According to a new market ... - U.S. Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecast ... U.S. was valued at US$ 5.89 Bn in 2014 and ... 2015 to 2023 to reach US$ 7.99 Bn in 2023. ... emerging needle free drug delivery devices and the market is ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: