Online pet retailer MyTurtleStore linked to 15 case salmonella outbreak which has caused five hospitalizations, CDC reveals
- A 15 case outbreak of salmonella has been tied to the online reptile retailer MyTurtleStore.com
- The website is selling turtles with shells under four inches long, which is illegal in the U.S.
- The strain of salmonella that has infected the patients is the same strain found on the small turtles
- It is the second outbreak of the bacterial infection tied to at-home pets this years, with the CDC warning of backyard chicken flocks last month as well
A online turtle is at the center of a salmonella outbreak that has caused more than a dozen illnesses and required five patients to be hospitalized, the CDC revealed Thursday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) posted a notice tying MyTurtleStore.com to the 15 cases across 11 U.S. states.
It says that turtles with shells less than four inches long – which are illegal to sell in the U.S. – sold on the website were found to be carrying the same strain of the bacteria that caused the infections.
The CDC warns that small turtles are especially susceptible to carrying the dangerous bacteria, and warns against turtle ownership in households where one of the members may be at high risk from the disease.
The CDC warns that small turtles are at the center of a 15 case outbreak of salmonella, with reptiles sold on MyTurtleStore.com believed to be the main culprits (file photo)
‘Many people in this outbreak reported purchasing turtles with shells less than four inches long from online stores before getting sick,’ the agency wrote in a notice.
‘Three people in this outbreak purchased their turtles from a website called myturtlestore.com. The same strain of making people sick in this outbreak was also found on turtles purchased from myturtlestore.com.’
The company did not reply to a DailyMail.com request for comment.
The online shop sells turtles and turtle-related equipment. One prominent advertisement on the company’s website lists a Baby Musk Turtle, which it says is ‘Smaller That a U.S. Quarter!’
‘CDC investigates many Salmonella outbreaks linked to pet reptiles. Among these outbreaks, tiny turtles have caused the most illnesses,’ the agency writes.
‘In fact, the sale of tiny pet turtles has been banned in the US since 1975 because of the number of illnesses they cause and the risk to children.
‘Although any turtle can carry germs, tiny turtles are especially risky because children are more likely to handle them and get sick.’
MyTurtleStore.com is advertising baby turtles it says are smaller than a U.S. quarter. Turtles with shells under four inches long are banned from sale in America over salmonella concerns
No information about the companies physical address is available on its site. It only takes online orders.
The CDC warns against using these types of websites, and instead for Americans to only purchase pets from pet stores or known, recognized, breeders.
It has long warned that turtles can be a source of contamination in the home if not properly handled and cleaned.
An informational video of the agency’s website says that the reptiles can often be a source of salmonella – along with surfaces they have touched, its tank and the water it interacts with.
It also recommends against kissing or snuggling with a turtle as it allows bacteria to easily transmit from the animal to a person.
This is the second outbreak of the bacterial infection tied to pets. Last month, a salmonella outbreak that resulted in at least one death was linked to backyard chicken flocks.
The CDC warns that people suffering diarrhea, a fever of 102, dehydration or vomiting should seek out medical attention for potential salmonella infection.
Links between salmonella and chicken is commonly known. Many birds carry the bacteria, including poultry eaten safely by humans.
The bacteria is killed at temperatures that chicken is cooked at, making it safe to eat.