Friday, October 5, 2012

Tiny Pet Turtles Restricted For Salmonella Occurrence

These cute, tiny and pocket-sized pet turtles are such joy to have, seemingly harmless and docile, but BEWARE! These sweet-faced reptiles are considered dangerous and carriers of Salmonella, a much dreaded bacteria that brings about typhoid fever, food poisoning, gastroenteritis, enteric fever and other life-threatening illnesses.

Many kids still rave over these reptiles and ironically, the small pet turtles are still being sold and purchased, found in some homes for kids to play with and consider as their own lovable pets despite the 40-year old ban in the United States. Since 1975, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ordered a nationwide ban on sales of the reptiles with shells 4-inches or even smaller. The smaller these turtles are, the deadlier. Although they are also considered amphibians, they are technically categorized to belong to the reptile family.

Just recently revealed in Yahoo News, “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of Salmonella cases linked to tiny breeds of the reptile is on the rise. As of last week, there are six current outbreaks of the bacteria-borne illness directly linked to exposure to the illegal contraband. Yes pet turtles are illegal.”

The bad news is: these innocent little guys are not just carriers of Salmonella but found out to be breeders. In the same article it explains the whole process.

“Here's how it happens: They release the bacteria when they relieve themselves (that's a fancy way of saying turtle poop). Remnants of the Salmonella strain live on their shells and get transferred to human hands and mouths easily.”

You can never overemphasize the value of reminding the washing of kids’ hands every time they handle or touch the turtles but the fact remains, these tiny-shelled guys appear to be harmless and friendly, not a threat at all to young children and small enough to be handled as toys. With this, most of these kids don’t pay much attention to safe pet turtle-handling practices, touching turtles in the process and unknowingly putting their fingers/hands in their mouths.

Almost too often too, they play with the water, dangle their little fingers in the turtle tank water and usually put their hands in their mouth soon after playing. Worse, these tanks and turtle enclosure are washed and cleaned somewhere in the kitchen or the kitchen sink itself, spreading the bacteria in leaps and bounds.

Pet Turtles: An Important Cause of Salmonella Outbreaks

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