The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports:
• 28% of ill persons have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported;
• 49% of ill persons are of Hispanic ethnicity and information about the association between reptiles and Salmonella is now available in Spanish;
• results of the epidemiologic and environmental investigations indicate exposure to turtles or their environments (e.g., water from a turtle habitat) is the cause of these outbreaks;
72% of ill persons reported exposure to turtles prior to their illness;
89% of ill persons with turtle exposure specifically reported exposure to small turtles (shell length less than 4 inches); and,
• 34% of ill persons with small turtles reported purchasing the turtles from street vendors, and 17% reported purchasing small turtles from pet stores.
Small turtles are a well-known source of human Salmonella infections, especially among young children. Because of this risk, the Food and Drug Administration has banned the sale and distribution of these turtles as pets since 1975. Turtles with a shell length of less than 4 inches in size should not be purchased as pets or given as gifts.
The full report is available at http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/small-turtles-03-12/index.html.