A new report by the CDC has revealed that the nationwide salmonella outbreak is linked to small turtles.
Since January 3, fifteen cases of salmonella have been reported from eleven states. A majority of the cases are concentrated on the east coast, including states such as New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina, and Florida.
So far, only the state of Washington has been affected on the west coast.
Salmonella is a bacteria that targets the intestinal tract and often results in symptoms such as stomach cramping, diarrhea, and fever, according to the CDC.
And the origin of this outbreak has been traced to small turtles with shells no larger than four inches long.
Eighty-eight percent of the people who have contracted salmonella reported coming into contact with a turtle within one week of falling ill. Most were small-shelled pet turtles purchased from online retailers.
Salmonella infections most commonly occur through contact with contaminated food– such as raw meat– or water.
However, it can also be contracted from birds and reptiles– particularly feces droppings.
The CDC explained how this current outbreak is likely linked to turtle droppings that can easily transfer to tank water, their bodies, and any other surface they touch.