Foodborne Illness Outbreak Database

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2011-2012 Multistate Outbreaks of Human Salmonella Infections Linked to Small Turtles

On August 8, 2012 the CDC posted an announcement of six multistate outbreaks of human salmonellosis linked to exposure to small turtles or turtle environments (e.g., water from a turtle habitat). The posting was updated on October 19, 2012. A total of 219 persons were culture positive with one of the outbreak strains of Salmonella Sandiego, Salmonella Newport, Salmonella Pomona and Salmonella Poona. Patients resided in 34 states. Thirty six ill persons were hospitalized. Forty-nine percent of the ill persons were of Hispanic ethnicity. A brief summary of each outbreak follows. Outbreak 1 - Salmonella Sandiego, Strain A and Salmonella Newport, Strain A - A total of 82 ill persons were infected with Salmonella Sandiego, Strain A, and Salmonella Newport resided in 15 states. Illness onsets ranged from August 3, 2011 to September 13, 2012. Among the 54 ill persons for whom information was available, 13 (24%) reported being hospitalized. Outbreak 2 - Salmonella Pomona, Strain A - A total of 16 persons infected with Salmonella Pomona, Strain A were reported by 10 states. Illness onset dates ranged from December 9, 2011 to July 21, 2012. Ill persons ranged in age from less than 1 year to 90 years, with a median age of 16 years. Among 13 persons with available information, 4 (31%) were hospitalized. Seven patients reported contact with turtles. Outbreak 3 - Salmonella Poona, Strain A - A total of 28 individuals residing in 16 states were reported as having Outbreak Strain A of Salmonella Poona. Illness onsets ranged from October 20, 2011 to August 28, 2012. Ill persons ranged in age from less than 1 year to 70 years, with a median age of 3 years. Six patients were hospitalized. Six ill persons reported travel to the Florida panhandle and either purchased or handled small turtles at local souvenier stores. As a result, souvenier stores in the Florida panhandle have voluntarily agreed to stop selling turtles. Investigations conducted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission identified brokers and turtle farms that supplied turtles to souvenier stores in the Florida panhandle area associated with ill persons. This information was shared with the US FDA. In July 2012, two samples of turtle tank water from the home of an ill person in Mississippi yielded the outbreak strain, Salmonella Poona, Strain A. Outbreak 4 - Salmonella Sandiego, Strain B - Six individuals were infected with Salmonella Sandiego, Strain B by 3 states. Among the persons who reported the date of onset, illnesses began on February 25 and April 27, 2012. infected individuals ranged in age from less than 1 year to 65 years old. One of the six people was hospitalized. Four of the 6 people interviewed reported contact with turtles before becoming ill. In April 2012 one sample of water from a turtle habitat associated with an ill person in Colorado yielded Salmonella Sandiego, Strain B. Outbreak 5 - Salmonella Pomona, Strain B - A total of 73 individuals infected with Salmonella Pomona, Strain B, were reported in 21 states. Illness onset dates ranged from May 23, 2011 to September 3, 2012. Ill persons ranged in age from less than 1 year to 94 years with a median age of 2 years. Eleven of 35 persons with available information were hospitalized. Sixty four percent (n=21) reported contact with turtles in the week before becoming ill. Outbreak 6 - Salmonella Poona, Strain B - Fourteen individuals infected with Salmonella Poona, Strain B were reported in 5 states. Illness onset dates ranged from April 1, 2012 to September 26, 2012. Infected individuals ranged in age from less than 1 year to 83 years, with a median age of 2 years. One patient reported being hospitalized. Three of the 4 patients with available information had exposures to turtles before becoming ill. In May 2012 samples of turtle tank water from a pet store where two ill persons from the same Pennsylvania household purchased small turtles yielded outbreak Strain B, Salmonella Poona. Also in May 2012, Salmonella Poona, Strain B, was identified in turtle water from a pet store where a Delaware patient had purchased small turtles.

  • Outbreak began:
  • June 2011
  • Affected Country:
  • US
  • Affected States/Territories:
  • California, Arizona, New York, Minnesota, Oregon, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Alaska, Vermont, Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, South Carolina
  • Organism(s):
  • Salmonella
  • Vehicle(s):
  • Animal Contact, Turtles
  • Molecular Results Available:
  • Unknown
  • Test Results:
  • None
  • Location(s):
  • Private Homes
  • Brand Name(s):
  • Product Subject to Recall:
  • No
  • Total ill:
  • 219
  • Number ill by Case Definition Known:
  • No
  • Number Laboratory Confirmed Cases:
  • N/A
  • Number Probable Cases:
  • N/A
  • Number Possible Cases:
  • N/A
  • Anyone Hospitalized:
  • Yes
  • Number Hospitalized:
  • 36
  • Any Deaths:
  • No
  • Number Dead:
  • 0

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