Bearded Dragons Linked to Salmonella Outbreak, CDC Warns

A CDC investigation notice regarding a multistate outbreak of Salmonella infections has been posted:

Key Points:

  • CDC has received reports of 15 Salmonella illnesses linked to bearded dragons across 9 states. Four people have been hospitalized and no deaths have been reported.
  • 60% of sick people are children under 5 years old. Bearded dragons are not recommended as pets for children younger than 5, adults aged 65 or older, and people with weakened immune systems because these people are more likely to get a serious illness from germs that reptiles carry.
  • Bearded dragons can carry Salmonella germs in their droppings even if they look healthy and clean.
  • You can get sick from touching your bearded dragon or anything in its environment and then touching your mouth or food and swallowing Salmonella

What You Should Do:

  • Wash your hands, play safely, and keep things clean.
  • Make sure children younger than 5 years old avoid contact with your bearded dragon and older children wash their hands after touching or feeding a bearded dragon.
  • Have a dedicated enclosure for your bearded dragon. Don't allow bearded dragons to roam in the same spaces where your baby or young children crawl and play.

What Businesses Should Do:

  • Educate customers about how to stay healthy around bearded dragons.
  • Learn more about how to protect your customers and employees from Salmonella infection and other diseases shared between animals and humans.

About Salmonella:

  • Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 6 hours to 6 days after being exposed to the bacteria.
  • The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment.
  • In some people, the illness may be so severe that the patient is hospitalized.
  • Children younger than 5, adults 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe illness.
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