CDC Warns of Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Pet Bearded Dragons

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Friday that pet bearded dragons might be linked to recent Salmonella outbreaks in nine states. The reptiles, though seemingly healthy and clean, can carry Salmonella germs in their droppings. These germs can spread to their bodies and anything they touch, posing a risk to humans who handle them and then touch their mouth or food.

Fifteen cases of illness have been reported across California, Georgia, Iowa, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas, with four resulting in hospitalizations. Infected individuals typically experience symptoms such as diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps, which manifest six hours to six days after exposure to the bacteria. Most recover without treatment in four to seven days, but severe cases can occur, especially in young children, older adults, and those with weakened immune systems.

To help pet owners stay healthy while keeping bearded dragons, the CDC offers several important guidelines:


  • Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water immediately after touching or feeding a bearded dragon, and after cleaning its habitat.
  • Ensure children wash their hands after handling a bearded dragon, especially before holding or feeding young children.
  • Children younger than five should avoid contact with bearded dragons.


  • Avoid kissing or snuggling your bearded dragon, and do not eat or drink around it to prevent the spread of Salmonella germs.
  • Keep a dedicated enclosure for your pet. Do not allow bearded dragons to roam in areas where young children play.
  • Keep your bearded dragon out of kitchens and other food preparation areas.


  • Clean feeders, toys, and food and water containers outside if possible.
  • If indoor cleaning is necessary, avoid using the kitchen sink. Use a laundry sink or bathtub, and disinfect the area thoroughly afterward.

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By following these guidelines, bearded dragon owners can help prevent the spread of Salmonella and protect themselves and their families from illness. The CDC continues to monitor the situation and provide updates as needed to ensure public health and safety.

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