6 local cases of Salmonella linked to turtles
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- The Southern Nevada Health District is investigating six cases of salmonellosis in Clark County.
District officials believe that the cases might be related to a multi-state outbreak that has been reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
All six Clark County cases had contact with aquatic turtles that are kept as pets.
Five of the patients in Clark County were under the age of 5. The other person was an adult. One person was hospitalized but has since recovered.
According to the CDC's website, a total of 149 cases believed to be linked to aquatic turtles have been reported in 28 states.
Twenty-eight people have been hospitalized but no deaths have been reported. '
Salmonella bacteria can be on the bodies of reptiles, even those that seem healthy.
It can also be on cages, aquariums, terrariums, the water reptiles live or swim in and other containers that house them.
Anything that reptiles touch should be considered a possible source of Salmonella. People develop the infection by ingesting the bacteria. This is likely to occur if they touch a contaminated source then put their hands into their mouth or touch their food.
Small turtles, with a shell length of less than 4 inches, are a well known source of human Salmonella infections, especially among small children. Most people infected with the bacteria develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps.
Turtles are not the only source. Iguanas, snakes, lizards, frogs and toads and baby chicks can all be sources.
The illness typically lasts from 4 to 7 days. Although most people recover without treatment, severe infections may occur. Infants, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems are more likely than other to develop severe illness.
People who handle any of the animals listed above should always make sure to wash their hands with soap and water immediately after touch or feeding the animals.
The animals should also be kept out of kitchens or any area that food is prepared or consumed.
Cleaning tanks, feeding and watering containers and any other equipment used to raise and care for the animals should not be stored in the house.
In addition, children under the age of 5, older adults, or people with weak immune systems should not handle animals that could possibly carry the disease.
More advice on proper handling and care of animals that can carry the serious disease can be found on the SNHD's website.