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The Parent Report: Turtles Can Be Hazardous To Your Child's Health

BOSTON (CBS) - Some people might think of turtles as a nice pet, but the reptiles can be hazardous to kids.


Today's report is not about Kermit the Frog, but about another green reptile - turtles, and it's a serious story about turtles and the health of your kids.

Julie Harris at the federal Centers for Disease Control and the author of a study about turtles and their health effects on kids says those turtles can carry salmonella.

Two girls who swam with pet turtles in a backyard pool and who spent 8-days in the hospital with salmonella poisoning were among more than a hundred people sickened by a salmonella outbreak blamed on turtles in 2007-2008, involving mostly children in 34 states.

Even though selling small turtles as pets has been banned since 1975, they continue to be sold illegally, and the American Veterinary Medical Association estimates the number of pet turtles nationwide doubled from 950,000 in 1996, to almost two million in 2006. Harris says turtles and kids don't mix. And the Salmonella poisoning can have serious effects.

Turtles involved in the salmonella outbreak were bought at pet shops, flea markets, from street vendors, and of course, online.

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