State health officials say that they are working with local and federal public health partners to investigate a cluster of Salmonella infections linked to contact with pet turtles.
Washington has two cases in this multi-state outbreak, one each from Kitsap and Whatcom counties. Both people report contact with pet turtles, and one person was hospitalized.
This is not the first time Washington has had Salmonella illness linked to pet turtles, according to officials.
They tell KXRO that reptiles like turtles, lizards, and snakes, and amphibians such as frogs can have Salmonella bacteria on their bodies, even when they are otherwise healthy and clean. These germs also get on the animal’s tank and other items or surfaces the animal may have come in contact with.
Children are especially at risk of illness because they are less likely to wash their hands and have more frequent hand-to-mouth contact than adults. Children younger than 5, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to experience severe illness.
Call your health care provider, if you or your child has a high fever, severe diarrhea, or other symptoms that concern you.
You can read about safe handling of these pets on the Department of Health website.