The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the fatality in a weekly report reminding Americans of the health risks associated with small turtles, the sale of which was banned in 1975. The sale of turtles with shells smaller than four inches is banned in this country.
Twenty-three Americans, including the baby, have been infected by turtles since September, health authorities said.
The infant girl was in shock when she was taken to a Florida hospital on Feb. 20. She was given antibiotics but died March 1, the CDC said.
Spinal fluid cultures and blood samples from the infant showed she was infected with the same type of salmonella carried by the turtle, the CDC said. The small turtle was given to the family by a friend who bought it at a flea market.
Salmonella can be transmitted to humans by direct or indirect contact with a turtle or its feces, the CDC said. This is especially dangerous for young children. The CDC said that turtle-linked infections continue because the sales ban is not "fully enforced'' and contains exceptions for educational purposes.