The McCreary County Record

Homepage

October 2, 2012

Tiny pet turtles blamed for salmonella outbreak

WASHINGTON — They're cute but potentially deadly.

Tiny pet turtles, some of them the size of a quarter, are to blame for six ongoing salmonella outbreaks that have sickened nearly 200 people and counting — mostly children.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the sale of turtles with shells less than four inches long in 1975, an attempt to keep them away from kids back when small pet turtles were all the rage. The agency found that kids couldn't resist kissing the toy-like reptiles or placing them in their mouths, sometimes contaminating themselves with the salmonella commonly found on turtles.

Turtle-related illnesses dropped sharply after the ban took effect. But as the current outbreaks demonstrate, they're back. Illnesses have been reported in 30 states since last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A thriving black market keeps churning out the small pets, which are often raised on turtle farms and sold at flea markets, on the Web or in stores.

In Maryland, authorities have seized about 500 undersize turtles in the past year. They've busted two turtle vendors in Montgomery County in the past two weeks: One for selling the turtles to a Silver Spring store; the other for hawking them from a parking lot at the Six Flags America theme park in Largo, said Mike Lathroum, a senior officer with the Maryland Natural Resources Police.

"We've really seen a big influx of these turtles for sale," Lathroum said. "I don't know why. . . . We've not been able to determine the source."

Turtles big and small shed salmonella in their droppings, and the bacteria ends up on their shells and skin. People who touch the turtles or their habitats risk infection if they don't wash their hands afterward. Cleaning a turtle's aquarium in a sink or letting one loose in the house also enables the turtle to spread the salmonella to household surfaces.

Text Only
Homepage
Scottie Morrow

Scottie Morrow

Local News
  • School board delivers average superintendent evaluation

     STEARNS — McCreary County Schools Superintendent Arthur D. Wright continues to struggle with a divided board as seen by last Thursday’s release of his annual evaluation.

    July 30, 2014

  • Morrow launches new petition drive

    WHITLEY CITY  — Scottie Morrow, two-time candidate for McCreary County Judge-Executive, may not have made it through the May Primary but that isn’t stopping him from jump-starting a relatively quiet election season.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cooper sentenced to 168 months in federal prison

    LONDON — A local man has been sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for his role in a conspiracy to distribute oxycodone.
     According to documents filed July 21, United States District Judge Gregory Van

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • McCreary County Water District Recognized for Superior Performance

    FRANKFORT — The Energy and Environment Cabinet announced last Tuesday that McCreary County Water District’s Flat Rock treatment plant is among 61 drinking water treatment plants in Kentucky consistently produced

    July 29, 2014

  • Call for aid leads to marijuana discovery

    WHITLEY CITY — A bizarre turn of events led to the arrest of three individuals and the discovery of nearly two dozen marijuana plants Saturday evening.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Local Sports
Obituaries
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Facebook
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide