Pet Bearded Dragons Cause Pre-Schoolers to Become Ill in 9 States


Bacterial infections caused by pet Bearded Dragons have sickened at least 15 people in 9 states. Most cases were pre-school age children. Four people were hospitalized for their illness. Most of the people reported direct contact with bearded dragons before becoming sick. Because of this risk for Salmonella infections, experts advise against bearded dragons as pets for young kids, older adults, and those with weakened immune systems. So far infections have been reported in New York, Iowa, California, Ohio, Texas, Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina. Health officials point our that actual number of cases is likely significantly higher than the official number because only infections which are reported to a health department are counted. For a case to reach the health department, many steps have to happen. 1) People must first seek medical care, 2) The doctor must order the right test 3), The virus needs to be present in the test sample and the test needs to be sensitive enough to detect it, and 4) the laboratory must report the result to the health department.