Online pet retailer MyTurtleStore is linked to an outbreak of 15 salmonella cases that has resulted in five people being hospitalized, the CDC reports.
- An outbreak of 15 cases of salmonellosis has been linked to the online reptile store MyTurtleStore.com.
- The site sells turtles with a shell less than four inches long, which is illegal in the US.
- The Salmonella strain that infected the patients is the same strain that is found in baby turtles.
- This is the second outbreak of a pet-related bacterial infection this year, with the CDC warning of backyard chickens crowding last month.
An Internet turtle was at the center of a salmonellosis outbreak that caused more than a dozen illnesses and required the hospitalization of five patients. CDC revealed on Thursday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a notice linking MyTurtleStore.com to 15 cases in 11 US states.
It says turtles with shells less than four inches long, which are banned from sale in the US and sold on the website, were found to carry the same strain of bacteria that caused the infection.
The CDC warns that baby turtles are particularly susceptible to dangerous bacteria and cautions against owning turtles in a household where one member may be at high risk of illness.
CDC warns baby turtles are at the center of 15 salmonella outbreaks, with reptiles sold on MyTurtleStore.com considered the main culprits (file photo)
“Many people in this outbreak have reported buying turtles with less than four inches of shell from online retailers before becoming sick,” the agency said in a statement.
“Three people during this outbreak bought their turtles from a website called myturtlestore.com. The same strain that causes disease in humans during this outbreak has also been found in turtles purchased from myturtlestore.com.”
The company did not respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.
The online store sells turtles and turtle-related equipment. One famous ad on the company’s website lists a musk turtle that reads “Less than a quarter of the US!”
“The CDC is investigating many outbreaks of salmonellosis associated with pet reptiles. Among these outbreaks, tiny turtles caused the largest number of diseases, ”the agency writes.
“In fact, the sale of tiny pet turtles has been banned in the US since 1975 due to the high number of diseases they cause and the risk to children.
“While any turtle can carry germs, tiny turtles are especially dangerous because children are more likely to come into contact with them and get sick.”
MyTurtleStore.com advertises baby turtles that it says are less than a quarter of a US dollar. Turtles with a shell less than four inches long are banned from sale in America due to salmonella problems.
The site does not contain information about the physical address of the company. Only online orders are accepted.
The CDC warns against using these types of websites, and instead, Americans should only buy pets from pet stores or reputed, established breeders.
It has long been warned that turtles can be a source of infestation in the home if not properly handled and cleaned.
An information video on the department’s website states that reptiles can often be a source of salmonellosis – along with the surfaces they touch, its reservoir and the water with which it interacts.
Kissing or snuggling against a turtle is also not recommended, as this allows bacteria to be easily transferred from animal to person.
This is the second outbreak of a bacterial infection associated with pets. Last month, a salmonella outbreak that resulted in at least one death was linked to flocks of chickens in the backyard.
The CDC warns that people suffering from diarrhea, fever 102, dehydration, or vomiting should seek medical attention for a potential salmonella infection.
The links between salmonella and chicken are well known. The bacteria are carried by many birds, including poultry, which are safely eaten by humans.
The bacteria are killed at the temperature at which the chicken is cooked, making it safe to eat.