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Pet Turtles as a Cause of Human Salmonellosis

Leslie P. Williams Jr., DVM, DrPH; Harry L. Helsdon
JAMA. 1965;192(5):347-351. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080180005001.
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An infected pet turtle was shown to be the source of a case of human salmonellosis. The investigations that followed this finding resulted in 16 serotypes of Salmonella being designated turtle-associated types. Epidemiologic follow-up of these serotypes demonstrated, in addition to the original case, five index cases where turtles were the source of infection. Nine additional patients with salmonellosis had owned turtles but they were unavailable for sampling. Of the 22 infected persons found, 6 had been hospitalized and 13 excreted salmonellae for over 30 days. The majority of those infected were under 6 years of age; however, three mothers were also infected. The chain of transmission could be broken by the strict adherence to sanitary procedures when handling turtles or the production and marketing of turtles and turtle food free of salmonellae.


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