You’ll Never Guess What’s Behind the Massachusetts Salmonella Scare

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It seems either salmonella outbreaks are happening a lot more often lately, or they’re easier to track with social media and 24-hour news feeds. Either way, final blame for an alert with salmonella rests on a reptile.

According to Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention, at least 44 people in 25 states, including Massachusetts, have fallen ill following an outbreak of salmonella linked to popular lizards known as bearded dragons.

The CDC reports that bearded dragons can carry salmonella germs in their feces even if they appear clean and healthy. These germs can easily spread to their body and anything in the area where they live and travel.

If you own or have been around one of these pet lizards, you should know that you can get sick from not only touching your bearded dragon, but also from touching anything in its environment and then touching your face or your mouth and swallowing salmonella germs.

The CDC recommends that you wash your hands thoroughly after handling or feeding them. Also, try to avoid kissing or snuggling up to them and people should avoid eating or drinking around them.

Bearded dragons, native to Australia, have recently become very popular pets in America. They get their name from the shiny spikes under their neck that look like a man’s beard. The tips’ beard will swell if they feel threatened in any way.

So far, there have been a total of 44 reported illnesses and 15 hospitalizations in the United States. Most people infected with Salmonella suffer from diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps. Children under 5, adults 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems can suffer from more serious illnesses.

For more information on CDC recommendations and the salmonella outbreak, visit their website here.

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