Salmonella outbreaks connected with turtles

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Five Salmonella outbreaks connected with small turtles have caused illnesses in at least 27 states since June 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Those with illnesses include 124 people with confirmed infections and 19 who were hospitalized.

The CDC reported May 10 that epidemiologic and environmental investigations connected the illnesses with turtles and their environments, such as tanks used to house the turtles. About 75 percent of those with confirmed infections reported having contact with turtles prior to their illness, and 93 percent of those who reported contact with turtles were exposed to turtles that had carapaces less than 4 inches long.

The Food and Drug Administration, in an effort to reduce Salmonella infections among children, has, since 1975, prohibited selling such turtles. The prohibition carries exemptions for exports and scientific, educational, and exhibition purposes.

The CDC has received reports of 61 infections with Salmonella Sandiego, 48 with Salmonella Pomona, and 15 with Salmonella Poona.