BOSTON (WHDH) - Pet bearded dragons are to blame for a salmonella outbreak that has sickened dozens of people in 25 states, including Massachusetts, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced this week.

The dragons can carry salmonella germs in their droppings even if they appear healthy and clean, the CDC warned in an investigation notice.

“The germs can easily spread to their bodies and anything in the area where they live and roam,” the CDC said. “You can get sick from touching your bearded dragon or anything in its environment and then touching your mouth and swallowing salmonella germs.”

One person in the Bay State has been affected by the outbreak. There have also been three reported illnesses in Rhode Island and one in Connecticut.

There have been a total of 44 reported illnesses and 15 hospitalizations across the United States so far.

The CDC urged people to wash their hands thoroughly after handling or feeding a bearded dragon and to avoid kissing or snuggling them. People should also refrain from eating or drinking around them.

An investigation into the outbreak remains ongoing.

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