Photo Credit: Kurayba via Compfight cc
Australia’s very own Bearded Dragon is the latest addition to the United States list of pets that can potentially give you salmonella. According to the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), around 132 people across 31 states have been infected by gram-negative bacteria from these particular lizards. The CDC surveyed 31 people who had been diagnosed with salmonella and found that 21 of them had been in contact with Bearded Dragons. Furthermore, researchers discovered the rare bacterial strain in the terrarium of a Bearded Dragon. 

Bearded Dragons are highly popular as house hold pets in the US. They can grow to be 50cm long and come in an array of colours such as orange, yellow, red, cream or brown. Pet stores or suppliers can sell one of these novelty reptiles from A$75 to A$100.  No particular shop or supplier has been directly associated with the salmonella outbreak, although the CDC are currently undertaking the investigation seriously.

Since the bacterial strain is not yet linked to a particular source, the CDC urge everyone to be more careful when caring for Bearded Dragons. Researchers claim that despite the fact your particular Bearded Dragon appears to be fit as a fiddle, it could still be shedding harmful bacteria. Thus it is recommended you wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling your Bearded Dragon. Your lizards should also not be allowed to access the kitchen, sinks and bathtubs.  In addition, children under the age of 5 should be prevented from interacting with these lizards as they are more at risk of deadly side effects from the bug.

It is a relief that no one has died from the recent salmonella outbreak, although 42 per cent of people have ended up being hospitalised. The majority of these patients being small children. If you or any of your family members have come into contact with a Bearded Dragon recently and are showing symptoms of salmonella (fever, headaches, cramps, diarrhea) then we urge you to consult your doctor immediately! Furthermore, for owners of Bearded Dragons, we suggest to have your pet be checked up by your local vet to ensure they are not harboring the harmful bacteria.