Posted: Oct 19, 2009 6:17 AM by Associated Press
A new report seeks to remind people that having pet turtles, still sold illegally in the U.S., isn't the best idea due to salmonella risk. Researchers report a 2007-08 outbreak that sickened 107 people, mostly children, in 34 states, was the largest outbreak blamed on turtles nationwide.
In many cases, parents didn't know that turtles can carry salmonella. Salmonella in turtle feces can end up on their shells and body, and can spread to people who handle them.
Turtles involved were bought at pet shops, flea markets, from street vendors and online. The report says the Food and Drug Administration continues to investigate.
Turtle sales were banned in 1975. The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that there were almost 2 million pet turtles nationwide in 2006.