Almost 60 illegal turtles have been returned to the Upper Valley Mall and several people have called the health department reporting possible turtle-related salmonella after a stand selling red ear sliders was ordered closed Monday.

Clark County Health District officials are now manning the kiosk accepting the tiny reptiles that reportedly have been sold in nearby counties in the weeks prior to Clark County.

The turtles, with less than 4-inch-long shells, have been illegal to sell since 1975 because of the health risks involved. An employee of the pet stand told health officials he did not know how many turtles had been sold locally.

"We’ve received several calls today from people who have already sought out medical care or are seeking medical care today because of gastro-intestinal illnesses since the purchase of the turtles," Clark County Health Commissioner Charles Patterson said. He said the connection between the turtles and the illness has not been confirmed but he is notifying primary doctors in the area of the possibility.