Pet Turtles Can Make People Sick: Guidance for Clinicians

Janell Routh, MD


June 25, 2012

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In This Article

Symptoms of Salmonella Infection

Know the symptoms of Salmonella infection and test patients when appropriate. Salmonella infections most commonly cause acute gastroenteritis with fever, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and vomiting. The incubation period is 12-72 hours and the illness duration is typically 4-7 days. Most Salmonella infections do not require treatment other than oral rehydration, although patients with severe diarrhea may require rehydration with intravenous fluids. Antimicrobial therapy is not usually indicated unless you suspect that the patient has invasive disease.

Serious illnesses that can result from a Salmonella infection include sepsis, joint infections, and meningitis, and infections can result in death, especially in patients with underlying health conditions (HIV infection, other immunocompromising conditions, and sickle cell anemia).

For more information, please see the resources on this page. As a healthcare provider, you can help ensure that your patients are able to enjoy their pets without getting sick.

Web Resources

CDC Posters: Animal Exhibits and Handwashing

CDC Expert Commentary on Medscape: Pets Can Make People Sick

Dr. Janell Routh is an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer with CDC in the Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases. She received her MD and pediatric training at the University of California, San Francisco. After pediatric residency, she spent 3 years in Malawi with the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative before coming to CDC.


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