LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Turtles may be a popular household pet but they are being blamed for a multistate Salmonella outbreak, mostly in young children.READ MORE: Residents In Santa Barbara Near Alisal Fire Burn Area Brace For Approaching Rain Storm
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting that the majority of those who have gotten sick have handled small turtles that fit in the palm of your hand.
So far, 149 people have been infected in 28 states, including 26 people in California. Of those infected, 64 percent are under 10 years old. Some have been hospitalized but no deaths have been reported thus far.READ MORE: What To Expect As 'Supercharge' Storm Moves Into SoCal
Other than for educational use, it is illegal to buy and sell turtles under four inches because they have a high risk of Salmonella infection. But that hasn’t stopped black market vendors.
Malibu-based American Tortoise Rescue shot undercover video of small turtles being sold on Santee Street in downtown Los Angeles.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists the symptoms of Salmonella as diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fever and headache. If these symptoms persist, you’re urged to call your doctor.MORE NEWS: Associate Pastor Shot To Death At Compton Intersection
Those who handle turtles are urged to wash your hands thoroughly. Health officials recommend that no child under five handle a turtle.