FDA Re-Emphasizes Warnings To Consumers On Risks Of Pet Turtles

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Pets and child health

The Food and Drug Administration is urgently reminding the public that contact with baby turtles can pose a serious health risk to infants, small children, and adults with impaired immune systems as they can be natural hosts to Salmonella, a group of bacteria that can cause severe illness and death.

Recently, a four-week old infant in Florida died of infection traced to Salmonella pomona, a bacteria that was also found in a pet turtle in the home.

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Salmonella is the genus name of a number of bacteria commonly associated with food poisoning from contaminated or undercooked foods, and salmonellosis is the disease the bacteria can cause. Salmonella can be found on the outer skin and shell surfaces of the turtles causing salmonellosis for those handling turtles without properly washing their hands after handling the animals.

FDA is reminding parents and others who care for children of the following:

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