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Salmonella Outbreaks from Tiny Turtles Infect 124 in 27 States

EMSL Analytical offers Salmonella testing services in our advanced microbiology lab


Salmonella poisoning resulting from exposure to pet turtles has spread throughout the United States, as the number of outbreaks has now reached five. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 124 people—many of whom are children—have been infected in 27 states.
The Salmonella bacteria strains implicated in the outbreaks are Salmonella Sandiego, Salmonella Pomona, and Salmonella Poona, and 67% of the patients sick with those strains are children under 10. At least 19 people have been hospitalized.
New York has reported 24 outbreak-related illnesses; California 21; Texas 12; Pennsylvania 9; New Jersey 7; Maryland 6; Colorado 5; Nevada 4; Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Mexico, South Carolina and Virginia each 3; Alaska, Michigan, and Ohio each two; and Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont and West Virginia each have reported single cases, according to Food Safety News.
The popularity of tiny turtles as pets is high, despite the fact that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the sale of turtles with shells smaller than four inches in 1975. Turtles with small shells are disease vectors, particularly for Salmonella.
Like other reptiles and amphibians treated as pets, turtles can carry and spread Salmonella—even when they seem to be healthy and clean.
People can become infected by handling turtles or by exposure to the contents of their tanks or aquariums.
“EMSL Analytical tests samples from the animals themselves, as well as environmental samples from their tanks,” states EMSL’s Vice President of Microbiology and Life Sciences, Jason Dobranic, Ph.D. “Our esteemed microbiology lab offers a wide variety of turn-around times for Salmonella and other harmful microbes at competitive pricing.”
For more information regarding EMSL’s microbiology testing services please call 800-220-3675, e-mail, or visit
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a full service testing company providing quality lab services under the same private ownership since 1981. Including the corporate lab facility in Cinnaminson, NJ, EMSL Analytical operates over thirty laboratories nationwide in the US and Canada. We provide analytical services for environmental, indoor air quality (IAQ), industrial hygiene, forensics and materials science, consumer products, food safety, PCR, pharmaceutical, asbestos, lead, and radiological samples. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations, as well as state and federal regulating bodies. Please see our website for a complete listing of accreditations.


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