CDC: Avoid kissing and hugging turtles
Now as you said that - It's hard to beat the temptation
US residents are being urged to avoid kissing and hugging turtles due to an outbreak of Salmonella infections thought to be linked to turtles.
According to US media reports, at least 26 people in 11 states have fallen ill with Salmonella infections. Nine of them developed symptoms and were hospitalized. Authorities are currently investigating these infections.
It is illegal to sell or transport small turtles as pets. This is stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the US National Institutes of Health. Turtles with shells smaller than 10 cm are of particular concern. Despite being banned, these turtles are sometimes sold illegally on the internet, in markets and on roadsides.
As the Institute notes, even apparently healthy and clean turtles can harbor Salmonella in their feces. Salmonella can easily spread in the turtle’s body, in the water where the turtle lives, and in the habitat around the turtle.
The CDC explains that a person can get sick if they come into contact with a turtle or something in its environment that harbors Salmonella and then touch their mouth or food with unwashed hands.