Signs & Symptoms

Eight Multistate Outbreaks of Human Salmonella Infections Linked to Small Turtles (Final Update)

Posted October 18, 2013 3:00 PM ET

These outbreaks appear to be over. However, small turtles continue to be an important cause of human Salmonella infections in the United States. More information about Salmonella from reptiles and amphibians and the steps people can take to reduce their risk of infection is available.

Most persons infected with Salmonella bacteria develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12-72 hours after infection. Infection is usually diagnosed by culture of a stool sample. The illness usually lasts from 4 to 7 days. Although most people recover without treatment, severe infections may occur. Infants, elderly persons, and those with weakened immune systems are more likely than others to develop severe illness. When severe infection occurs, Salmonella bacteria may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.

More general information about Salmonella can be found at the CDC’s Salmonella webpage.