LAS VEGAS (AP) — Southern Nevada health officials are investigating six recent cases of salmonella poisoning that set in after people touched pet turtles.

Health officials say five of the patients in Clark County were under the age of 5, and one adult came down with the illness. One person was hospitalized but has since been released.

Authorities say salmonella bacteria can be on the bodies of reptiles even when they seem healthy. It can also be on cages and aquariums and in the water where the reptiles swim.

It typically spreads when someone touches a reptile and then puts their hands into their mouth or touches their food.

Salmonella poisoning usually causes diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps. The symptoms can be more serious in infants, elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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