The state continues to scrutinize a pet turtle and owl pellets while trying to nail down the cause of a salmonella outbreak at Jefferson Elementary School.

As of yesterday, 23 confirmed cases of salmonella mostly among fifth-grade students had been reported to the state Department of Public Health, reports the Metro West Daily News.

"Originally, 40 to 50 kids were sick, and we’ve confirmed 23 cases through stool samples," said DPH spokeswoman Donna Rheaume. "We’re testing the owl pellets and turtle water to see if we can grow salmonella from the cultures."

Rheaume said the state likely will pinpoint the cause next week.