Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced it was investigating an outbreak of Salmonella infections linked to the purchase of small turtles. At the time of the CDC notice, 15 illnesses in 11 states had been reported. Five of the infected people had to be hospitalized and a number of the sick individuals were children.
CDC warns that the true number of sick people is likely higher than the number reported, and that the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses. Interviews with infected people, laboratory data and purchase information show that small turtles (shells less than 4 inches long) are making people sick. The agency goes on to state that most people reported buying small turtles online. Half of the people who purchased their turtles online bought them from a single website, even though federal law bans the sale and distribution of turtles less than 4 inches long as pets.
“Turtles, regardless of their size, can carry Salmonella in their droppings even if they look healthy,” said Jason Dobranic, Ph.D., Vice President of Microbiology and Life Sciences at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “CDC cautions that these germs can easily spread to their bodies, tank water, and anything in the area where they live and roam. Anyone could get sick from touching a turtle or anything in its environment contaminated with the bacteria and then touching their mouth or food with unwashed hands.”
Helping to stop the spread of microbial pathogens are the scientists at EMSL Analytical, Inc. With laboratories across the United States and Canada, EMSL offers comprehensive environmental testing services and all of the supplies needed to collect and submit samples. Environmental testing can not only help to prevent infections, it can also be instrumental in locating the source of an outbreak if one has already occurred.
EMSL sponsored an educational video about Salmonella exposure risks from pet reptiles and amphibians several years ago that can still be seen at: https://youtu.be/IRJVx2_qGQM
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is one of the leading testing laboratories throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP 797, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC's, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products, and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA-LAP, LLC (AIHA-LAP, LLC EMLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC IHLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP, and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at www.EMSL.com for a complete listing of accreditations. In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.
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