Bearded Dragons May Be The Cause Of Salmonella Infections

Nikki Attkisson | Last Updated : January 14, 2022

Recently, a minimum of 44 people have fallen sick due to a salmonella infection in 25 states out of which 15 people needed hospitalization. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention is linking all this to Bearded Dragons which are a common reptilian pet.

Bearded Dragons May Be The Cause Of Salmonella Infections

They do not need to be taken care of much and they are called so because of the beard of spikes under the chin. It puffs up or changes color depending on how the reptile feels.  They are native to Australia.

Bearded Dragons May Be The Cause Of Salmonella Infections

The first outbreak of the strain salmonella Uganda was reported on 24th December 2020 and then cases were reported every month after that for 12 months. In the past, there have been other instances as well where people were infected with salmonella which was transmitted to them from bearded Dragons.

Salmonella causes enteric fever, gastroenteritis, and septicemia which may or may not be associated with focal suppuration. Most importantly it is the causative agent of typhoid. Its incubation period ranges between 7 days to 14 days but this can vary.

The infected people were between the ages of a few months to 84 years and eight of them were below the age of 5. The good thing about all this is that no deaths were reported. People mostly recover from salmonella infections without any medical intervention by taking fluids in a few days, so the true number of people who have fallen sick due to it may be higher than what has been reported.

Only some severe cases may need IV fluids and sometimes, antibiotics. Other than that, 2 to 4 weeks are required to make sure if the illness is a part of the outbreak. The symptoms for identification of salmonella infection are fever, dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea, and apparent dehydration.

Washington and Wisconsin had reported the most cases, four in each, however, cases are being reported throughout the country. 21 out of 33 people who were interviewed, admitted that they had been in contact with a bearded dragon.

The Oregon health authority had test samples from a bearded dragon that belonged to one of the sick persons and the salmonella strain in that sample was pretty much similar to the one found in human infections.

Like most reptiles, the salmonella bacteria is also a commensal in the intestinal tract of bearded Dragons. The association of Reptilian Amphibian Veterinarians stated that the salmonella bacteria are passed out in the feces of these reptiles.

It will not harm the reptile at all but anybody who comes in contact with it may fall sick. It is important to clean the reptile as well because only those reptiles that are contaminated with their droppings will transmit the salmonella infection if they come in contact with somebody’s mouth which can happen when people kiss their pets or do not wash their hands after touching it and end up eating with those dirty hands.

Or they may just touch their mouth and the bacteria will be transferred to them. It is recommended that the owners of these pets maintain optimum hygienic conditions. They should always wash their hands after they come in contact with their pet and they should not kiss it or snuggle it.

Eating or drinking around them is also not recommended. It is also recommended to clean everything that they come in contact with if these lizards move about the house. Do not let children under the age of 5 and adults over the age of 65 and immunocompromised people come in contact with bearded Dragons.

Nikki Attkisson

With over 15 years as a practicing journalist, Nikki Attkisson found herself at Powdersville Post now after working at several other publications. She is an award-winning journalist with an entrepreneurial spirit and worked as a journalist covering technology, innovation, environmental issues, politics, health etc. Nikki Attkisson has also worked on product development, content strategy, and editorial management for numerous media companies. She began her career at local news stations and worked as a reporter in national newspapers.

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