Cuddling with a bearded dragon can end up being a belly growth experience.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday released information suggesting that a recent outbreak of salmonella in 25 states it appears to be associated with people who came close to one of the lizards.
More than 44 people have become ill from the virus in the last 12 months and 15 of these people required hospitalization, according to CDC data. HHealth officials interviewed 33 infected people, and 21 said they owned or had touched a bearded dragon and their supplies.
In November, a sample taken from a patient’s bearded dragon revealed a salmonella strain that was closely related to what has been seen in human infections.
Association of Reptiles and Amphibians noted that most reptiles carry salmonella bacteria in their intestinal tract and that humans can become infected when they lay their hands on objects that have been in contact with the reptiles’ feces or in their mouths.
As a result, the CDC has released a list of guidelines to prevent further proliferation, including:
- Wash your hands immediately after touching or feeding a bearded dragon.
- Do not kiss or cuddle a bearded dragon or eat or drink around it.
- Do not clean your bearded dragon supplies inside the house or near other areas where food is being eaten or cooked.
The CDC also suggests avoiding having bearded dragons in homes with children under 5, adults over 65 or people with weakened immune systems.