Three salmonella cases in Connecticut have been linked to pet turtles, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
CDC and multiple states are investigating an outbreak of salmonella infections from people who were in contact with pet turtles.
So far, 37 people have been infected in 13 states, including Connecticut, with illnesses starting between Mar. 1, 2017 and Aug. 3, 2017, the CDC reported.
At least 16 of those people were hospitalized and 32 percent of those infected were children under the age of 5.
Nearly half of the 33 people that the CDC interviewed said they had come in contact with turtles or its environment, such as water from the turtle's habitat.
Six people reported buying a turtle from a flea market, street vendor or receiving one as a gift.
"In 2015, state and local health officials collected samples from turtles at a street vendor. Whole genome sequencing showed that the Salmonella Agbeni isolated from ill people in this outbreak is closely related genetically to the Salmonella Agbeni isolates from turtles. This close genetic relationship means that people in this outbreak are more likely to share a common source of infection," the CDC reported on its website.
The CDC warns to not buy small turtles as pets or giving them as gifts. In 1975, the FDA banned selling turtles with shells less than 4 inches.
"All turtles, regardless of size, can carry salmonella bacteria even if they look healthy and clean. These outbreaks are a reminder to follow simple steps to enjoy pet reptiles and keep your family healthy," CDC said.