Worms & Germs Blog

Tag Archives: turtles

US Turtle Laws

Posted in Reptiles
Turtles are notorious Salmonella vectors. Because of that, various jurisdictions have rules limiting their sale, particularly the sale of small turtles (i.e. those that young kids are more likely to handle and try to put in their mouths). A recent publication from the CDC’s Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support is a Menu… Continue Reading

Turtles and botulism

Posted in Reptiles
As reported on barfblog.com (with, as ever, an entertaining title: You see a cute turtle, I see a bug factory: Infant botulism from C. butyricum) a recent paper in the journal Epidemiology and Infection (Shelley et al. 2015) reports an unusual turtle-associated disease. When we think about turtles and infections (especially infections of young kids),… Continue Reading

Reptile-associated salmonellosis in Minnesota

Posted in Reptiles
A recent paper in Zoonoses and Public Health (Whitten et al, 2014) describes reptile-associated salmonellosis cases in Minnesota between 1996-2011. Like similar reports, the data underestimate the problem because it’s thought that for every documented case, approximately 30 cases go undiagnosed. Regardless, there are some useful findings. Twelve to 30 cases of reptile-associated salmonellosis were… Continue Reading

Turtles and Salmonella…no surprise there

Posted in Reptiles
Pet aquatic turtles have been implicated in three outbreaks of salmonellosis involving 43 US states over the past year and a half.  Disappointing, but not surprising. Disappointing, obviously, because people are getting sick. Disappointing also because these outbreaks have occurred over and over, despite availability of good information on how to reduce the risks. It’s… Continue Reading

Turtles, Santa and pre-Christmas returns

Posted in Reptiles
I received an email from a relative the other day with a pet question. I get lots of these, but the surprising part is this relative doesn’t have any pets (and I think is generally of the opinion that pets are okay, as long as they’re not hers). She was asking about turtles. As a… Continue Reading

Salmonella in baby from pet reptile

Posted in Reptiles
.A five-month-old Britich baby was hospitalized with salmonellosis that was presumably acquired from a family pet. The baby developed severe diarrhea and was rushed to hospital. Fortunately, the child has recovered, something that’s far from assured in such cases, since salmonellosis can be life-threatening in infants. As expected, an investigation followed the diagnosis of salmonellosis.… Continue Reading

Pet turtles and Salmonella…why am I not surprised?

Posted in Reptiles
The CDC has announced an investigation of three multistate outbreaks of salmonellosis linked to pet turtles. At last report, 66 affected people had been identified, and since most outbreaks like this only identify a minority of cases, it’s safe to assume there are many others. Three different types of Salmonella have been implicated; S. Sandiego, S.… Continue Reading

Salmonella from turtles…again

Posted in Reptiles
Yet another outbreak of salmonellosis traced back to pet turtles has been investigated by CDC and Pennsylvania’s State Health Department. Pet turtles are notorious Salmonella vectors, for several reasons, including the fact that small aquatic turtles very commonly carry the bacterium, they are marketed towards young kids (who are increased risk of infection), and people… Continue Reading

Flesh eating disease from a turtle?

Posted in Reptiles
A UK hairdresser is recovering from necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease) that was linked to his pet turtle. The problem started when he cut his finger while cleaning out the turtle’s tank. An infection developed, which isn’t too surprising since a turtle terrarium is full of a variety of bacteria. However, instead of a mild, local infection,… Continue Reading

Reptile warning changes proposed in Texas

Posted in Reptiles
The Texas Department of State Health Services has proposed a series of changes to warnings that are already required of retailers that sell reptiles. The warnings are focused on prevention of salmonellosis, and retailers must post signs and provide written warnings to anyone buying a reptile about the risk of salmonellosis from reptiles. Signs must… Continue Reading

Turtle on a plane…but not for long

Posted in Reptiles
It’s not likely going to spark a Hollywood movie, but a turtle on a plane triggered a lot of angst and controversy in the US recently. A 10-year-old girl was traveling with her pet turtle, Neytiri, on an AirTran flight from Atlanta to Milwaukee. The airline has a no-reptiles policy (actually, a no-pets-at-all-in-the-cabin policy) and… Continue Reading

Franklin the potentially biohazardous library turtle

Posted in Reptiles
Among the various things I’ve been called in response to blog posts is "anti-reptile." Actually, I like reptiles. I’ve owned and treated them, and think many of them are quite fascinating species. They can be reasonable pets in certain situations. The main problem is that they have high rates of Salmonella carriage and are the… Continue Reading

Deja vu all over again: Turtles and Salmonella

Posted in Reptiles, Salmonella
You’d think, after countless outbreak of salmonellosis associated with pet turtles, that people would learn and things would start to improve. I guess not. A paper published this week in Pediatrics (Harris et al) described a large outbreak of Salmonella Java associated with pet turtles. Between May 2007 and January 2008, 107 infections were identified. The… Continue Reading

More about turtles and Salmonella

Posted in Reptiles, Salmonella
In response to recent posts about Salmonella and turtles, a reader posed these questions: Okay, so turtles and tortoises can carry salmonella.  Does that mean that all do?  Not all, but a lot of them do. Aquatic turtles are probably a greater risk than tortoises. If a vet analyzes a poop sample from my Russian… Continue Reading

Red eared slider turtle rebuttal

Posted in Other animals, Salmonella
Following a report on black market turtle sales in Maryland, a letter to the Baltimore Sun by Maryland veterinarian Dr. Jeffery Rhody wanted to "set the record straight". "All reptiles carry salmonella as part of the normal bacterial population in their body." Not really true, however Salmonella can commonly be found in healthy reptiles, so… Continue Reading

Black market turtles in Baltimore

Posted in Reptiles, Salmonella
There is apparently a thriving black market for baby red-eared slider turtles in Baltimore. The sale  (and possession) of small turtles is illegal in Maryland, like many other regions, largely because of public health concerns regarding Salmonella. Over 100 hatchling turtles have been seized in the past 2 weeks. Baby turtles offer a good profit… Continue Reading

Salmonella and turtles info sheet

Posted in Reptiles, Salmonella
BarfBlog is a food safety blog run by Dr. Doug Powell, who used to be at the University of Guelph, before moving to Kansas State. (I played hockey with him and can confidently state that he is one of the better hockey goalies working in food safety in Kansas). Doug and his group have put… Continue Reading

Nontraditional Pets and Children: Beware

Posted in Birds, Other animals, Pocket pets, Reptiles, Salmonella
A report about the health risks in children associated with nontraditional pets was recently published in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The report also discusses diseases associated with animals in public settings such as petting zoos and pet stores.  Although contact with pets and animals can be beneficial to growth… Continue Reading

Salmonella outbreak linked to turtles

Posted in Reptiles, Salmonella
Yet another reminder of the risks associated with handling turtles (and other reptiles) comes to us from a report published earlier this year regarding an outbreak of salmonellosis in people tied to contact with turtles.  In this case, more than 100 people in 33 US states were affected. The report sparked additional public education efforts… Continue Reading

Information Sheets for Pet Owners

Posted in Birds, Cats, Clostridium difficile, Dogs, MRSA/MRSP, Other diseases, Parasites, Pocket pets, Rabies, Reptiles, Salmonella, Toxoplasmosis
INFORMATION SHEETS FOR PET OWNERS INFORMATION SHEETS specifically for KIDS, for VETERINARIANS, for PHYSICIANS and for PUBLIC HEALTH PERSONNEL are also available on the Worms & Germs RESOURCES page! Click on the highlighted topics below for information sheets. Topics that are not highlighted are in development and coming soon. Sheets for other animal species and diseases are… Continue Reading