BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Although the tiny pets are still among the most popular choices in America after dogs and cats, turtles may cause salmonella.
Turtles are small and may even appear very cute to some people, despite that many others don’t understand why they could be of interest, as they seem to sit all day doing nothing. In fact, if regularly spoken to, turtles may even start recognizing you and they certainly know when you’re feeding them. So they might not be that boring after all.
However, as tiny and cute they could be, they are also dangerous. No, not because they are some sort of ninja in disguise, but because they could pose a salmonella threat to humans. This is the main reason they have been banned as pets in our country since 1975. Despite them being banned, they still cause infections with salmonella in humans, children being more likely to get infected.
How come they are still causing infections if they’ve been banned as pets for so long? Well, they can still be found in schools for education or for display and research at museums or scientific centers. Moreover, they can also be found in many American households as they are still sold as pets, illegally of course.
The CDC claims that there have been a number of eight salmonella outbreaks from 2011 to 2013. These outbreaks caused 473 people to get sick. And the outbreaks weren’t just local. They were spread all over the country in 41 states and even in Puerto Rico.
Most of the people who get sick because of the virus spread by the tiny turtles are children with the average age of 4. Almost half of them have to be hospitalized and they are treated with antibiotics which could affect their immunity systems. Prior to getting sick almost 70 percent of the patients said they had contact with a turtle the week before and 88 percent of these people claimed that the turtle was a small one.
What is more concerning is that there are very few people, including medical staff, who don’t know that turtles pose this threat. It is recommended not to keep turtles as pets in places where there are children less than 5 years old and to always wash your hands after handling the turtle.
Some of the symptoms caused by a salmonella infection are diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever. Severe cases need a more serious treatment and the patient has to be hospitalized. The infection can spread from intestines to the bloodstream and even be fatal if the patient doesn’t receive proper medical care in time.
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