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CDC Investigates Multistate Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Pet Turtles

EMSL Analytical provides environmental testing services for Salmonella and other microbial pathogens to help identify and prevent exposure risks.

Cinnaminson, NJ – WEBWIRE

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the agency and multiple states have been investigating an outbreak of human Salmonella infections linked to contact with pet turtles. So far, at least thirty-seven people from thirteen states have been infected with the outbreak strain of the bacteria.

The illnesses started in March of this year and continued through the summer months. Approximately a third of the infected people have been children five years of age or younger. Fortunately, no deaths have been reported, but at least sixteen people have been hospitalized.

The CDC states that all turtles, regardless of size, can carry Salmonella even if they look healthy and clean. The agency even recommends people keep turtles out of homes with children younger than 5 years, adults older than 65 years or in homes with people with weakened immune systems. In addition, the CDC reports that turtles and other reptiles should not be kept in child care centers, schools or other facilities with children younger than 5 years of age.

“Due to concerns over Salmonella and turtles, in 1975 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the sale and distribution of turtles with shells less than 4 inches long as pets,” said Jason Dobranic, Ph.D., Vice President of Microbiology and Life Sciences at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “Turtles are not the only animals commonly found in or around people’s homes that may spread Salmonella. At pretty much the same time this turtle outbreak was going on this year, another outbreak associated with backyard flocks of poultry infected over 370 people. To help prevent these types of infections, it’s important that people wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water immediately after handling these animals or anything in the area where they live or roam, or after contact with animal feces.” 

To help prevent the spread of microbial pathogens, EMSL Analytical, Inc. offers comprehensive environmental testing services and all of the supplies necessary to collect and submit samples. Testing can help prevent infections or be instrumental in locating the source of an outbreak if one has already occurred. EMSL also recently sponsored an educational video about Salmonella exposure risks from pet reptiles and amphibians that can be seen at:

To learn more about Salmonella or other microbial and environmental testing services, please visit, call (800) 220-3675 or email .

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.

EMSL Analytical, Inc. is one of the leading testing laboratories with 40 locations throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP 797, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC’s, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA LAP, LLC. (AIHA EMLAP, AIHA IHLAP, AIHA ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at for a complete listing of accreditations.  In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.

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