The Center for Disease Control is warning about a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella linked to contact with pet turtles.

As of Tuesday, Oct. 8, 21 people in 13 states, including at least one case in Michigan, were infected by the outbreak.

The CDC said most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps for 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria.

Children younger than five, adults older than 65, and those with weakened immune systems are more likely to sustain a severe illness.

Regardless of where turtles are purchased or their size, the CDC said turtles can carry germs that make people sick.

Pet owners should always follow steps for staying healthy around their turtles, including:

  • Washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching or feeding a turtle
  • Do not kiss or snuggle turtles
  • Do not let turtles roam freely where food is stored or prepared
  • If possible, clean habitats, toys, and pet supplies outside of the home

For tips on how you can stay healthy around your pet, head to the CDC’s website.

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