CDC investigating Salmonella outbreaks linked to pet bearded dragons, pet hedgehogs
For Immediate Release: Thursday, October 1, 2020
Contact: Media Relations
CDC is investigating two separate multistate Salmonella illness outbreaks, one linked to contact with pet bearded dragons and one linked to contact with pet hedgehogs. It’s important to always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling your pet, especially animals that are commonly known to spread Salmonella to humans such as small mammals and reptiles.
- CDC and multiple states are investigating an outbreak of 13 Salmonella Muenster infections in 8 states.
- Seven ill people, out of 11 people with information, have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
- Investigation findings link these outbreaks to contact with pet bearded dragons. Ten of 13 ill people interviewed (77%) reported contact with a bearded dragon before getting sick.
- Ill people reported purchasing bearded dragons from various pet stores in multiple states, but a common supplier has not been identified.
- This investigation is ongoing and CDC will provide more information as it becomes available
- CDC and multiple states are investigating an outbreak of 32 Salmonella Typhimurium infections in 17 states. Five people were hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
- Investigation findings link the outbreaks to contact with pet Sixteen of 23 ill people interviewed (70%) reported contact with pet hedgehogs before becoming sick.
- This outbreak strain is the same as outbreaks linked to hedgehogs in 2012 and in 2019.
- A common source of hedgehogs has not been identified. Ill people reported buying hedgehogs from various sources, including pet stores, breeders, and
- This investigation is ongoing and CDC will provide more information as it becomes available.
Safe handling of pet bearded dragons and hedgehogs:
- Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching your pet or anything in its environment.
- Don’t kiss or snuggle your pet because this can spread Salmonella germs to your face and mouth and make you
- Keep your pet out of your kitchen and other areas where you eat, store, or prepare food.
- Clean items you use to care for your pet outside the house, if possible. If you clean the items indoors, clean them in a laundry sink or bathtub. Make sure to thoroughly disinfect the area right after.
- Don’t let children younger than 5 touch the bearded dragon or hedgehog because young children are more likely to have severe Salmonella illness.
- Before bringing home a new pet, research the pet’s needs and see if it’s a good fit for your family.
- Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 6 hours to 6 days after being exposed to the bacteria.
- The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment.
- In some people, the illness may be so severe that the patient is hospitalized. Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other parts of the body.
- Children younger than 5, adults 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe illness.
If you have questions about cases in a particular state, please call that state’s health department.
CDC works 24/7 protecting America’s health, safety and security. Whether disease start at home or abroad, are curable or preventable, chronic or acute, or from human activity or deliberate attack, CDC responds to America’s most pressing health threats. CDC is headquartered in Atlanta and has experts located throughout the United States and the world.