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Prevalence of Salmonella spp. in pet turtles and their environment


Pet turtles are known as a source of Salmonella infection to humans when handled in captivity. Thirty four turtles purchased from pet shops and online markets in Korea were examined to determine whether the turtles and their environment were contaminated with Salmonella spp. Salmonella spp. were isolated from fecal samples of 17 turtles. These isolates were identified as S. enterica through 16S rRNA gene sequencing. The isolation rate of Salmonella spp. from the soil and water samples increased over time. We concluded that a high percentage of turtles being sold in pet shops were infected with Salmonella spp., and their environments tend to become contaminated over time unless they are maintained properly. These results indicate that pet turtles could be a potential risk of salmonellosis in Korea.


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This research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (NRF-2015R1D1A1A01060638).

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Correspondence to Gang-Joon Heo.

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Back, D., Shin, G., Wendt, M. et al. Prevalence of Salmonella spp. in pet turtles and their environment. Lab Anim Res 32, 166–170 (2016).

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  • Prevalence
  • pet turtles
  • environment
  • Salmonella spp.
  • salmonellosis