KEY POINTS

  • The CDC warned people against snuggling or kissing their pet bearded dragons 
  • The CDC requested people to wash their hands after touching their pets 
  • The investigation was linked to a 2020 Salmonella outbreak

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday warned owners of bearded dragons over the reptile's link to a Salmonella outbreak in many states.

At least 44 people have gotten sick and 15 have been hospitalized across the U.S. According to health experts, people can get sick from touching their bearded dragon or anything in their environment, and then touching their mouth. These creatures can carry Salmonella germs in their droppings, even if they look healthy and clean. The germs can then spread to their bodies and where they live.

The CDC urged the owners of exotic lizards to wash their hands after touching their bearded dragons, and also to avoid snuggling and kissing them. The people were also requested to keep the reptiles away from any food or areas where food was consumed. 

Two states, Washington and Wisconsin, have each reported four cases of salmonella likely linked to bearded dragons. California, Oregon and Rhode Island have each reported three cases, according to the Concho Valley Homepage.

The CDC investigation was linked to a 2020 Salmonella outbreak, during which those infected were aged between one and 84. Of the 37 individuals with information available, the CDC said, 15 were hospitalized. No deaths have been reported in the outbreak.

Bearded dragons are native to Australia, and are commonly kept as pets in many states in the U.S. However, if one is found keeping a bearded dragon as a pet in Hawaii, the person could face fines of up to $200,000 dollars and up to three years of jail time.

Salmonellosis and its symptoms:

Salmonellosis is a type of food poisoning caused by the Salmonella enterica bacterium. Salmonella serotype typhimurium and Salmonella serotype enteritidis are the most common types in the U.S. 

Salmonellosis is more common in the summer than in the winter. Symptoms of salmonella can begin 12 to 72 hours after a person is infected. In rare cases, complications from salmonella can become deadly. Most of the symptoms of a salmonella infection are stomach-related.

1. Cramps in your stomach

2. Bloody stools

3. Diarrhea

4. Cold and chills

5. Fever

6. Headache

7. Vomiting

8. Nausea

salmonella bacteria outbreak salmonella bacteria outbreak Photo: WikiImages - Pixabay