Pet bearded dragons linked to Salmonella outbreaks in the US


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The CDC and public health officials in several states have reported investigating two multinational disease outbreaks salmonella Infection with Vitkin serotypes and IIIb 61:z52:z53 associated with domesticated bearded dragons.

Photo by Mylene2401 from Pixabay

As of October 12, 2022, a total of 23 people have been infected with the outbreak strains salmonella Vitkin (10 people) and salmonella IIIb 61: z52: z53 (13 people) reported from 15 states – California, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Eight people required hospitalization due to their illness. No deaths were recorded.

Patients ranged in age from less than 1 to 75 years, with a median age of 2 years, and 10 (43%) were children under 1 year of age.

The CDC says the true number of patients in an outbreak is likely to be much higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to states with known diseases.

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Health officials offer the following tips for staying healthy around your bearded pet:

  • wash your hands
    • Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water immediately after touching or feeding a bearded dragon and after touching or cleaning the area where it lives and roams.
    • Always wash your hands after handling a bearded dragon and especially before handling or feeding a baby or young child.
    • Ensure that children under 5 years of age avoid contact with a bearded dragon and that older children wash their hands after touching or feeding a bearded dragon.
  • play safe
    • Do not kiss or cuddle a bearded dragon and do not eat or drink around it. This can spread salmonella Germs in your mouth and make you sick.
    • Get a custom enclosure for your bearded dragon. Don’t allow your bearded dragon to roam in the same places your baby or toddlers crawl and play.
    • Keep your bearded dragon away from your kitchen and other places where you eat, store, or prepare food.
  • Keep things clean
    • Clean your bearded dragon supplies outside if possible. These supplies may include her feeders, toys, and food and water containers.
    • If supplies must be cleaned indoors, don’t clean them in the kitchen or other places where you eat or prepare food. Use a sink or bathtub, and thoroughly clean and sanitize the area afterward.

If you are considering getting a pet bearded dragon:

  • Choose the right pet for your family
    • Bearded dragon and other reptiles Not recommended For children younger than 5 years old, adults 65 years of age or older, and people with weakened immune systems. These people are more likely to get seriously ill from the germs that reptiles can carry.


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