Seven New Jersey residents have been sickened in an outbreak of Salmonella linked to small turtles, officials said Wednesday.
The Centers for Disease Control is reporting six outbreaks of the infection, with 149 affected people in 28 states since August 2011, all linked to small turtles or the water they live in. Seventy-two percent of those sickened said they had some exposure to turtles.
In New Jersey, some of the cases have been linked to transient street vendors selling small turtles in predominantly Spanish-speaking neighborhoods.
Small turtles are a well-known source of Salmonella infections, particularly among children. Sale and distribution of these turtles as pets has been banned by the Food and Drug Administration since 1975.
People are urged to wash hands after handling turtles and all reptiles and amphibians.