A three-week-old girl died of salmonella transmitted by a pet
turtle, while 22 other people were infected by the small reptiles
across the United States since September, health authorities said.
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed the
incidents in a weekly report dated Friday reminding Americans of the
health risks associated with small turtles, whose sale was banned in
1975 because they can infect children.
Died in hospital
The infant girl was taken to a Florida hospital on February 20, where she was in
febrile and in septic shock. She was given antibiotics
but died on March 1, the CDC said in its "Morbidity and Mortality
Cultures of cerebrospinal fluid and blood samples taken from the
infant found a type of salmonella identical to the one carried by the
turtle, it said.
The turtle, which had a 3.2-centimeter (1.25-inch) shell, had been
given to the family in January by a friend who bought it at a flea
The 1975 law bans the sale of turtles with a carapace fewer than 10
centimetres (four inches) long.
"Small turtles have posed a particular danger to young children
because these turtles might not be perceived as health hazards and can
be handled like toys," the CDC said.
"Salmonella infections in children can be severe and can result in
hospitalization and occasionally in death," it said.
Salmonella can be transmitted to humans by direct or indirect
contact with a turtle or its faeces, the CDC said.
The CDC said that turtle-linked infections continue to occur because
the sales ban is not "fully enforced" and contains exceptions for
Salmonella illness remains a "major public health problem in the
United States," the CDC said in the report.
An estimated 1.4 million non-typhoid human Salmonella infections
occur each year, causing about 15,000 hospitalizations and 400 deaths,
it said. – (Sapa)
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