If you have been around any reptilian pets lately, you may want to monitor for symptoms of Salmonella infection.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a warning after a Salmonella outbreak in 25 states was linked to bearded dragons that are kept as pets. So far, 44 people have become ill, with 15 of them being hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
The CDC says bearded dragons can carry Salmonella germs in their droppings even if they look healthy and clean. The germs can then easily spread to their bodies and anything in the area where they live and roam, so you can get sick from touching a bearded dragon or anything in its environment.
To prevent a salmonella infection, you should wash your hands with soap and water after touching or feeding a bearded dragon or the area where it lives. You should also not kiss or snuggle a bearded dragon, and don’t eat or drink around it, as this can spread Salmonella germs to your mouth.
While this may seem odd if you’re not familiar with bearded dragons, it’s actually not the first time the CDC has issued a warning after a Salmonella outbreak from the pets. There was also an outbreak in November 2020 that sickened 18 people in 11 states. All 11 were hospitalized, but no deaths were reported.
Symptoms of Salmonella infection include diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps usually six hours to six days after swallowing the bacteria. Most people recover without treatment after four to seven days, but children younger than 5, adults over the age of 65 and people with weakened immune systems may experience more severe illnesses.
This is also currently just one of a few bacterial outbreaks affecting multiple states.
You can find more information on all three bacterias by visiting the CDC’s website.