Bearded dragons seen as salmonella source

April 24, 2014 by Mike Stobbe
In this July 22, 2013 file photo, a teenager holds his bearded dragon lizard before a discussion about herpetology at a park in Columbia, S.C. In a report released Thursday, April 24, 2014 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bearded dragons have joined the list of pets that can give you salmonella poisoning. In the last two years, 132 people in 31 states have been infected with a rare form of salmonella bacteria. (AP Photo/The State, Gerry Melendez)

Bearded dragons have joined the list of pets that can give you salmonella poisoning.

In the last two years, 132 people in 31 states have been infected with a rare form of . Thirty-one answered detailed questionnaires about their illnesses; of those, 21 said they'd handled bearded dragons—a popular lizard native to Australia.

Health investigators also found the rare in the terrarium of a bearded dragon tied to the outbreak. They're calling this the first U.S. outbreak caused by this kind of pet.

"We are confident bearded dragons are the source of the outbreak" said Casey Barton Behravesh of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which released a report on the outbreak Thursday.

Bearded dragons are desert animals that can grow to be about 20 inches long. Some are cream and brown in color, others are red, orange or yellow. Some sell in pet stores for around $70 to $100.

They can appear clean and healthy but still be shedding bacteria, experts say.

The CDC officials warned owners should wash their hands thoroughly after handling the lizards and keep them out of kitchens, sinks and bathtubs. They also should be kept away from small children.

There have been no deaths in the current , but 42 percent have been hospitalized. That's an unusually high proportion, probably due to the fact that a large number of the infected were children age 2 or younger, who are more vulnerable to the bacteria, said Barton Behravesh, a veterinary epidemiologist.

The bearded dragons came from several pet stores, and no single chain or supplier has been identified as the source of the salmonella-infected lizards, she added. An investigation is continuing.

Other pets that carry the salmonella bug include frogs, toads, turtles, snakes, hedgehogs, chicks and ducklings.

Explore further: Hedgehog Alert! Prickly pets can carry salmonella

Related Stories

Hedgehog Alert! Prickly pets can carry salmonella

January 31, 2013
Add those cute little hedgehogs to the list of pets that can make you sick.

Salmonella decline seen in food poisoning report

April 17, 2014
The government's latest report card on food poisoning is out, and it has some good news: a drop in illnesses from salmonella.

They're cute, but chicks carry salmonella dangers

March 21, 2013
(HealthDay)—Just in time for Easter, health officials are issuing another cautionary tale about the dangers of salmonella infection from chicks and ducklings.

Salmonella outbreak linked to NM poultry hatchery

August 19, 2013
(AP)—State health officials say a national outbreak of salmonella has been linked to an eastern New Mexico hatchery that sells live baby poultry by mail and supplies them to feed stores.

Salmonella typhimurium outbreak traced to frogs

March 12, 2013
(HealthDay)—An outbreak of primarily pediatric Salmonella Typhimurium infections in the United States has been traced to aquatic African dwarf frogs kept as pets, according to a study published online March 11 in Pediatrics.

Recommended for you

40 years after first Ebola outbreak, survivors show signs they can stave off new infection

December 14, 2017
Survivors of the first known Ebola outbreak, which occurred in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1976, may be key to development of vaccines and therapeutic drugs to treat future outbreaks, according to a new study ...

Lactic acid bacteria can protect against Influenza A virus, study finds

December 13, 2017
Lactic acid bacteria, commonly used as probiotics to improve digestive health, can offer protection against different subtypes of influenza A virus, resulting in reduced weight loss after virus infection and lower amounts ...

Lyme bacteria survive 28-day course of antibiotics months after infection

December 13, 2017
Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a leading sponsor of Lyme disease research in the US, today announced results of two papers published in the peer-reviewed journals PLOS ONE and American Journal of Pathology, that seem to support ...

Aging impairs innate immune response to flu

December 13, 2017
Aging impairs the immune system's response to the flu virus in multiple ways, weakening resistance in older adults, according to a Yale study. The research reveals why older people are at increased risk of illness and death ...

Drug blocks Zika, other mosquito-borne viruses in cell cultures

December 12, 2017
If there was a Mafia crime family of the virus world, it might be flaviviruses.

Study seeks to aid diagnosis, management of catatonia

December 11, 2017
Catatonia, a syndrome of motor, emotional and behavioral abnormalities frequently characterized by muscular rigidity and a trance-like mental stupor and at times manifesting with great excitement or agitation, can occur during ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.