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

Scientists gain new insight on how antibodies interact with widespread respiratory virus

February 22, 2018
Scientists have found and characterized the activity of four antibodies produced by the human immune system that target an important protein found in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), according to new research published ...

Study reveals how kidney disease happens

February 22, 2018
Monash researchers have solved a mystery, revealing how certain immune cells work together to instigate autoimmune kidney disease.

Past encounters with the flu shape vaccine response

February 20, 2018
New research on why the influenza vaccine was only modestly effective in recent years shows that immune history with the flu influences a person's response to the vaccine.

Building better tiny kidneys to test drugs and help people avoid dialysis

February 16, 2018
A free online kidney atlas built by USC researchers empowers stem cell scientists everywhere to generate more human-like tiny kidneys for testing new drugs and creating renal replacement therapies.

Study suggests expanded range for emerging tick-borne disease

February 16, 2018
Human cases of Borrelia miyamotoi, a tick-borne infection with some similarities to Lyme disease, were discovered in the eastern United States less than a decade ago. Now new research led by the Yale School of Public Health ...

Expanding Hepatitis C testing to all adults is cost-effective and improves outcomes

February 16, 2018
According to a new study, screening all adults for hepatitis C (HCV) is a cost-effective way to improve clinical outcomes of HCV and identify more infected people compared to current recommendations. Using a simulation model, ...

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.