Snuggling up to a bearded dragon could end up being a stomach-churning experience.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released information on Tuesday suggesting that a recent outbreak of salmonella in 25 states appears to be linked to people who have come close to one of the lizards.
More than 44 people have fallen ill with the virus in the past 12 months and 15 of those people required hospitalization, according to CDC data. HHealth officials interviewed 33 infected people and 21 said they owned or touched a bearded dragon and their supplies.
In November, a sample taken from a bearded dragon from a sick person revealed a strain of salmonella closely related to what has been seen in human infections.
The Association of Reptile and Amphibian Veterinarians noted that most reptiles carry salmonella bacteria in their intestinal tracts and humans can become infected when they place their hands on objects that have been in contact with animal feces. reptiles or in their mouths.
As a result, the CDC has issued a list of guidelines to prevent further spread, including:
- Wash your hands immediately after touching or feeding a bearded dragon.
- Do not kiss or cuddle a bearded dragon or eat or drink around it.
- Do not clean your bearded dragon supplies inside the home or near other areas where food is eaten or prepared.
The CDC also suggests avoiding having bearded dragons in homes with children under 5, adults over 65, or people with weakened immune systems.