After a salmonella outbreak linked to small turtles sickened people across 11 states (including North Carolina), the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a simple warning: Don’t kiss or cuddle your turtle.

Salmonella are a group of bacteria that can cause gastrointestinal illness and fever called salmonellosis. Symptoms of salmonella can start anywhere from six hours to six days after ingesting the bacteria and people suffering from it can experience diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps, officials said.

While most people recover without treatment after four to seven days, some people — most often children younger than 5-years-old, adults over the age of 65, or those with weakened immune systems — may have a more severe experience with the illness and require medical attention or even hospitalization.

Continue here to read what the CDC recommends to limit potential exposure if you are thinking of getting a pet turtle, have one already, or are exposed to one.