CDC warns of Salmonella outbreak from bearded dragons; 1 sick in Texas

Children under 5 are most affected in the Salmonella outbreak

Bearded dragon. (Image by G.C. from Pixabay)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning bearded dragon owners about a salmonella outbreak in the U.S. that has sickened 15 people, including one in Texas.

The CDC has received reports of 15 Salmonella illnesses linked to bearded dragons in nine states. Four people had to be hospitalized.

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The pets can carry Salmonella germs in their droppings, even if they appear healthy. The germs can spread to their bodies or habitats and anyone handling the pet.

“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,” a media alert from the CDC states.

About 60% of those sick were children under 5 years old.

Health officials urge people handling the reptiles to wash their hands and keep them in dedicated enclosures. They shouldn’t be allowed to roam in the same areas used by babies or young children, the CDC states.

Salmonella symptoms include diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps six hours to six days after being exposed to the bacteria. The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment.

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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