Hey...Stop kissing turtles! Crazy that that even has to be said, but it looks like people need to hear it.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has issued a warning against kissing turtles, following a string of hospitalizations and salmonella illnesses in 11 states, including Pennsylvania.

Photo by Bruno Guerrero on Unsplash
Photo by Bruno Guerrero on Unsplash
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(As of Aug 28) There has been 26 illnesses and 9 hospitalizations reported that are linked to this turtle salmonella, but fortunately no deaths.

The 26 people who got ill are from the following states, though it's possible the illness is not just limited these states. 4 of the illnesses are in Pennsylvania.

  • California
  • Missouri
  • Illinois
  • Tennessee
  • Kentucky
  • Ohio
  • Georgia
  • North Carolina
  • Virgina
  • Pennsylvania
  • New York

The CDC says these recent illnesses are linked to small "pet" turtles, which are illegal to sell and distribute, but people still manage to get their hands on them:

"A federal law bans the sale and distribution of turtles with shells less than 4 inches long as pets because they have caused many illnesses, especially in young children. Despite the ban, these turtles can sometimes be found illegally online and at stores, flea markets, and roadside stands."


Photo by Rudy Jr. on Unsplash
Photo by Rudy Jr. on Unsplash

People can get sick from touching these turtles, or anything in their environment and then touching their mouth. Which is why the CDC is warning people not to kiss or snuggle their pet turtles.

But it goes beyond refraining from kissing and snuggling. You should also never eat or drink around them, or let them in an area around food people will eat. When handling them, you should always wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.

Close Up Of Medical Staff Washing Hands. Hand hygiene.
Getty Images

It's probably best to keep our mouths off of reptiles as a general rule of thumb anyway. Stay safe!

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