Iguanas are not just a nuisance, they can also pose health risks, according to a new Centers of Disease Control & Prevention report. While touching an iguana or its feces can cause salmonella, a bite from an iguana can lead to a rare bacterial infection called mycobacterium marinum. The report came after a 3-year-old girl from California was bitten by an iguana in Costa Rica. Five months later, a cyst appeared, which was found to be caused by the bite. The child was successfully treated with antibiotics.
Tom Portuallo, owner of Iguana Control, said that iguanas are not designed to kill prey and are more apt to run away than towards humans. However, he has seen dogs get sick from licking iguana feces and children get sick from touching iguana droppings. Since lawns and pool decks are favorite places for iguanas, it’s easy to accidentally come into contact with their bacteria-filled droppings.