The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) earlier this week announced the likely source of a Salmonella Cotham outbreak was bearded dragons children like for pets. The illnesses involved 132 people in 31 states, and most were children aged five and younger. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services first reported the outbreak last Jan. 22. The Wisconsin cluster dated back to 2012, and exposure to pet reptiles was common to a high proportion of those cases. Bearded dragons are pet lizards native to Australia that come in a variety of colors. The break came when Emilio DeBess, an Oregon epidemiologist, visited the home of a sick baby and took samples from a pair of bearded dragons and their surrounding environment. All but one turned up positive for the rare Cotham strain involved in the outbreak. Health officials from other states quickly made the same match. No deaths are associated with the outbreak, but CDC reports that 42 percent of those ill with Salmonella Cotham have required hospitalization. Cases where the illness onset was on or before April 21, 2014, are included in the count. Some of the cases are resistant to ceftriaxone, an antibiotic often used to treat Salmonella infections. State and federal health officials say anyone dealing with reptiles should wash their hands frequently, and small children, whose immune systems are not fully developed, should not handle them. The 132 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Cotham have been reported from 31 states since Feb. 21, 2012. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows (listed in alphabetical order): Arizona (4), California (21), Colorado (2), Florida (3), Georgia (1), Idaho (3), Illinois (6), Kansas (6), Kentucky (4), Maryland (3), Massachusetts (1), Michigan (5), Minnesota (3), Missouri (7), Nebraska (1), Nevada (3), New Hampshire (1), New Jersey (3), New York (10), North Carolina (2), Ohio (1), Oregon (2), Pennsylvania (5), South Carolina (1), South Dakota (1), Tennessee (5), Texas (6), Utah (3), Virginia (3), Washington (4) and Wisconsin (12). Among the 132 persons for whom information is available, dates that illnesses began range from Feb. 20, 2012, to April 1, 2014. Ill persons range in age from less than one year to 79 years, with a median age of two years. Fifty-eight percent of ill persons are children five years of age or younger, and 51 percent of ill persons are female.