Beware pet bearded dragons and other reptiles who have been linked to Salmonella outbreaks, according to CDC

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reminding the public to not kiss, cuddle, eat or drink around certain reptiles that could give you salmonella. 

The CDC said they have seen a recent outbreak of salmonella poisoning when it comes to pet bearded dragons. 

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In 2021, 44 people were reported sick from a bearded dragon, with 15 of those people hospitalized, across 25 states. 

The CDC said bearded dragons can carry salmonella germs in their droppings even if they look healthy and clean. 

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

Although bearded dragons are not permitted in Hawaii, small turtles are. The CDC said people can also get sick with salmonella from playing with their pet turtle. 

In 2021, the CDC reported a total of 87 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Typhimurium or Salmonella Poona coming from a turtle.

Most people infected with salmonella experience diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps. Symptoms usually start from six hours to six days after swallowing the bacteria.

Most people recover quickly without treatment within a week. However, some people — especially children younger than the age of five, as well as adults aged 65 and older with weakened immune systems — might experience more severe illnesses. 

The CDC said to avoid getting salmonella from a pet, you should always wash your hands after playing, touching or cleaning your reptile. 

Find more COVID-19 news: cases, vaccinations on our Coronavirus News page

They said pet stores and turtle farms are encouraged to educate customers about salmonella risks from pet turtles and other reptiles.

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