CDC Probes Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Pet Bearded Dragons

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have launched an investigation into a multi-state Salmonella outbreak associated with pet bearded dragons. So far, 15 cases have been identified across nine states, including North Carolina and Georgia. Alarmingly, more than half of these cases involve children under the age of five. Four individuals have been hospitalized, but no fatalities have been reported.

Health officials are stressing the importance of proper hygiene for pet owners to curb the spread of Salmonella. “You can get sick from touching your bearded dragon or anything in its environment and then touching your mouth or food and swallowing Salmonella germs,” the CDC cautioned.

Bearded dragons are not recommended for high-risk groups such as young children, older adults, and individuals with weakened immune systems due to their vulnerability to severe Salmonella infections.

To safeguard against infection, the CDC suggests the following measures:


  • Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water right after handling, feeding, or cleaning up after a bearded dragon.
  • Ensure children wash their hands after interacting with the lizard, especially before eating or touching their faces.


  • Avoid kissing or cuddling your bearded dragon and do not eat or drink near it to prevent transferring germs to your mouth.
  • Maintain a dedicated enclosure for your bearded dragon and prevent it from roaming in areas where children play or where food is prepared.


  • Clean all feeders, toys, and food and water containers outdoors if feasible.
  • If indoor cleaning is necessary, use a laundry sink or bathtub instead of the kitchen sink, and disinfect the area thoroughly afterward.

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By adhering to these recommendations, bearded dragon owners can minimize the risk of Salmonella transmission and protect their families. The CDC will continue to monitor the outbreak and provide updates to ensure public health and safety.

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