It’s a rainy Halloween Eve in my neck of the woods. Thankfully, I have a cold so I pleaded the fact that I need to stay in and not get wet and chilled. Instead, I sit here stuffing my mouth with chocolate, sipping on an adult beverage and while I wait patiently for the next trick-or-treater to arrive.
The “turtle” part of the blog is because there is currently an outbreak of Salmonella across 13 states that has been linked back to pet turtles. According to the CDC as of Wednesday, twenty-one people have been infected with Salmonella oranienburg with seven of those cases requiring hospitalization. Thankfully there have not been any deaths.
California had the most reported cases at six, while Illinois, New York and Washington have also reported multiple cases. This is not the first outbreak associated with pet turtles. People that own or come in contact with pet turtles should always wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling. While turtles may look cuddly, you should also avoid kissing or snuggling them or let turtles roam freely where food is prepared or stored (e.g. your kitchen). Another thing to avoid is cleaning a turtle's tank, toys or supplies in the kitchen. If can clean it outside the house, that would be the safest!
So how does an outbreak associated with turtles go with Halloween horrors? Why Salmonella of course! I mean who would not Google “Salmonella outbreaks associated with chocolate”!? While I was hoping for none, that did not happen. I’d forgotten the outbreak earlier this year associated with chocolate-covered cream puffs. Back in 2006, Cadbury had to recall more than 1 million of its chocolate bars and ended up pleading guilty to nine charges relating to breaches of food safety regulations. In 2018, the company that makes Duncan Hines desserts recalled four types of cake mix after Salmonella was found in their “Classic White” mix.
Symptoms of a Salmonella infection include diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps about 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria. The illness usually lasts four to 7 days, and most people recover without needing treatment. So, if any of the candy you or your kids eat has been contaminated with Salmonella you can expect to be sick as early as tomorrow. Since candy can be a bit like Russian roulette, assuming it takes you a week to finish anytime between tomorrow and up to the 10th of November puts you in the 12-72 hr window!