ATLANTA - The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have a bit of an odd request: Please don't kiss turtles.
Public health officials have issued the warning after a salmonella outbreak that has sickened at least 26 people in 11 different states.
That includes two people in Georgia.
In total, the agency says nine people have been hospitalized in connection with the outbreak.
According to the CDC, there is a federal ban on any turtles with shells less than 4 inches long as pets because they can carry a number of illnesses. But pet turtles of any size can also carry salmonella germs in their droppings.
"Don’t kiss or snuggle your turtle, and don’t eat or drink around it. This can spread Salmonella germs to your mouth and make you sick," the CDC wrote in its advisory.
The symptoms of salmonella can occur from anywhere between six hours and six days after ingesting the bacteria. Those symptoms include fevers, cramping, diarrhea, and vomiting.
For more information about the outbreak, visit the CDC's website.
Frogs are not included in the advisory, so you still have the chance to turn one into a prince.