This 2005 photograph depicted a young boy holding a box turtle, portraying a look of wonderment mixed with curiosity, as the turtle looks on with almost a sense of the nonchalance. The importance of this image lies in the reality that turtles carry germs known as Salmonella, which are potentially dangerous to children. In fact, the sale of turtles less than 4 inches in length has been banned in the United States since 1975. The ban by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has prevented an estimated 100,000 cases of salmonellosis annually in children.There are a number of ways one can prohibit the spread of these bacteria, but of the utmost importance, when handling turtles and other potential Salmonella carriers, wash your hands thoroughly, and keep small children under the age of five, the elderly, and anyone who is immunocompromised away from direct contact with these creatures. For additional information on prevention and safety, please visit the link below!
CDC/ James Gathany
October 30, 2012
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