Do you or someone you know have a pet turtle? If you said "yes" I want you to quickly go wash your hands and then sit down and read the rest of this.

According to NBC Chicago, your pet turtle could make you and your children very sick, like salmonella sick.

The CDC says a salmonella outbreak caused by pet turtles has been linked to 13 states, including Illinois. In most cases, the infected have reported getting sick after coming in contact with the turtle's habitat.

No deaths have been reported but children under the age of 5 make up most of the reported 16 people who have been hospitalized; there have been a total of 37 cases in all.

If you're considering purchasing a turtle as a pet, the CDC does have some recommendations:

  • Avoid purchasing really small turtles, especially ones with shells that are less than four inches.
  • Families with children under the age of five should avoid keeping turtles as pets in their home.
  • Teachers and day care providers are also highly encouraged to keep turtles out of the classroom.
  • If you have a pet turtle already, keep their habitat clean and be sure to always wash your hands thoroughly anytime you come in contact with them and their surroundings.

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