By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Muenster infections linked to pet bearded dragons.

Image by Mylene2401 from Pixabay

Health officials report 13 Salmonella Muenster infections in 8 states. Seven ill people, out of 11 people with information, have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Five ill people are children under 5 years of age.

Ten of 13 ill people interviewed (77%) reported contact with a bearded dragon before getting sick. A common supplier has not been identified.

The outbreak strain making people sick was identified in samples collected from a bearded dragon and its environment from the home of an ill person in Virginia.

The CDC says bearded dragons can carry Salmonella germs in their droppings even if they look healthy and clean. These germs can easily spread to their bodies, habitats, and anything in the area where they live.

You can get sick from touching your bearded dragon or anything in its environment and then touching your mouth or face and swallowing Salmonella germs.

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Take these steps to stay healthy around bearded dragons:

  • Wash your hands
    • Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching or feeding your bearded dragon and after touching or cleaning the area where it lives and roams.
    • Adults should make sure young children are washing their hands properly.
  • Play safely
    • Don’t kiss or snuggle your bearded dragon, or eat or drink around it. These actions can spread Salmonella germs to your mouth and make you sick.
    • Keep your bearded dragon out of your kitchen and other areas where you eat, store, or prepare food.
  • Keep things clean
    • Clean items you use to care for your bearded dragon outside the house, if possible. Items you use to care for it may include tanks, food and water containers, and toys.
    • If you clean these items indoors, don’t clean them in the kitchen or other areas where you eat or prepare food. Use a laundry sink or bathtub, and thoroughly clean and disinfect the area right after.
  • Pick the right pet for your family
    • Bearded dragons and other reptiles are not recommended for children under 5, adults aged 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems because they are more likely to get serious illness from germs that reptiles can carry.