CDC: 2 More Salmonella Outbreaks, This Time Hedgehogs And Bearded Dragons Are Culprits

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Close-Up Of Hand Holding Hedgehog Salmonella

Hedgehogs (Photo: Getty)


A man, a hedgehog, and a bearded dragon walk into a bar. The man then gets a Salmonella infection.

That’s not the best version of the classic bar joke, but it is a possibility if you get too close to either a hedgehog or a bearded dragon. Hedgehogs have now stuck America with yet another Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak. It’s resulted in 32 reported cases and five hospitalizations in 17 states so far, according to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC). At the same time, bearded dragons have tipped the scales with a Salmonella Muenster outbreak. This second outbreak has left at least 13 people sick with seven hospitalizations in 13 states, as the CDC described.

If you are a hedgehog fund manager or anyone else who follows hedgehogs, you may realize that this ain’t the first time that they’ve caused such a prickly situation. Just last year, I covered for Forbes a previous hedgehog-induced Salmonella outbreak that eventually sickened at least 54 people across 23 states. That’s sick but not in a good way. The last time the CDC reported a bearded dragon-related Salmonella outbreak was back in 2014.

young bearded dragon in a terrarium

One young bearded dragon in a terrarium, leaning against a log and looking in the camera with … [+] disdain (Photo: Getty_


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if you check their I.D.’s, hedgehogs and bearded dragons are quite different from each other. Nevertheless, take similar precautions around them. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly when touching, feeding, or playing beer pong with your hedgehog or bearded dragon. Be careful around them because anything they touch may be contaminated with germs like Salmonella. Plus, they may cheat in beer pong.

Since both animals can leave such germs wherever they go, don’t let them roam freely in your living quarters either. This could allow them to touch things that may go into or touch your mouth such as utensils, plates, toothbrushes, pillow cases, or tubs of mac-and-cheese. It’s better to have designated areas for them that are far from your kitchen, bathroom, and bathroom. When you clean any objects that they may have touched, do so outside the house so that you don’t contaminate anything else.

Bearded Dragon

Kathryn Lyons of CQ-Roll Call, Inc. hangs out with Bruce, Sen. Roy Blunts, R-Mo., bearded dragon. … [+] (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Treat your face like your toilet and keep hedgehogs and bearded dragons away from both. If you feel the need to kiss or snuggle with them, send them affectionate texts loaded with emojis instead. Or you can always formed a heart shape with your fingers and whisper, “you complete me,” from across the room.

A Salmonella infection typically results in four to seven days of diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps. However, if the Salmonella gets into your bloodstream, the bacteria can wreak more havoc and even cause life-threatening complications. This is more likely if you are less than five years old or 65 years or older or have a weakened immune system. Therefore, if you do have these risk factors, be extra careful when hanging out with a hedgehog or bearded dragon. In fact, consider keeping your distance. A Zoom call may be better, although they may seem like they are frequently on mute.

European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) - stock photo

If a hedgehog uses your camera, clean it thoroughly. (Photo: Getty)


So, if a man, a hedgehog, and a bearded dragon walk into a bar, it’s better if the man takes proper precautions, refrains from head butting or sharing a beer, and washes his hands thoroughly frequently. And that’s no joke.

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