Warning issued after large pet lizards linked to salmonella outbreak across 9 states

Bearded dragons can carry Salmonella germs in their droppings even if they look healthy and clean ...

WSBTV.com, ATLANTA — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a warning following a salmonella outbreak tied to bearded dragons.

So far, four people have been hospitalized over the infections, but there have been no reported deaths.

More than half of the people who have become sick are children.

The CDC recommends that people who have the lizards as pets to wash their hands after handling them. They also warn not to “kiss or snuggle your bearded dragon, and don’t eat or drink around it. This can spread Salmonella germs to your mouth and make you sick.”

“Bearded dragons, and most reptiles, naturally carry salmonella, which is a zoonotic disease, or spreadable to people.” – PetMD.com

Salmonella Outbreaks Linked to Pet Bearded Dragons

CDC Investigation Notice, Posted June 14, 2024 

Fast Facts

  • Illnesses: 15
  • Hospitalizations: 4
  • Deaths: 0
  • States: 9
  • Investigation status: Open

[OTHER  FACTS, from HEADLINE HEALTH: Pogonas [‘bearded dragons’] do not have beards and are not dragons, but they sell better when given a cute name. Their native habitat is limited to eastern Australia. In the 1990s, Pogonas were popularized in the United States by pet dealers. The sale of Pogonas as pets is illegal in Australia.]

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Bearded Dragons and Salmonella

Bearded dragons can carry Salmonella germs in their droppings even if they look healthy and clean. These germs can easily spread to their bodies and anything in the area where they live and roam.

You can get sick from touching your bearded dragon or anything in its environment and then touching your mouth or food and swallowing Salmonella germs.


What You Should Do

Always take these steps to stay healthy around your pet bearded dragon:

  • Wash your hands
    • Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching or feeding your bearded dragon and after touching or cleaning the area where it lives and roams.
    • Always wash your hands right after handling your bearded dragon and especially before holding or feeding a baby or a young child under 5.
    • 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.
  • Play safely
    • Don’t kiss or snuggle your bearded dragon, and don’t eat or drink around it. This can spread Salmonella germs to your mouth and make you sick.
    • 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.
    • Keep your bearded dragon out of your kitchen and other areas where you eat, store, or prepare food.
  • Keep things clean
    • Clean your bearded dragon supplies outside of the house, if possible. These supplies may include its feeders, toys, and food and water containers.
    • If you must clean the supplies indoors, don’t clean them in the kitchen or other areas where you eat or prepare food. Use a laundry sink or bathtub, and thoroughly clean and disinfect the area right after.

If you are thinking of getting a pet bearded dragon:

  • Pick the right pet for your family
    • Bearded dragons and other reptiles are not recommended for children younger than 5, adults aged 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems. These people are more likely to get a serious illness from germs that reptiles can carry.


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