11 sickened in salmonella outbreak linked to hedgehogs — CDC

Henrietta Strickland
January 26, 2019

Americans have been warned by the government not to kiss or snuggle their hedgehogs after an outbreak of salmonella was linked to the tiny mammals.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning on Friday that 11 people across the country have been infected with an illness transmitted by pet hedgehogs. No deaths have been reported. An additional three cases were reported in Missouri, with one case each in Colorado, Maine, Mississippi, Nebraska, Texas and Wyoming.

"Hedgehogs can carry Salmonella germs in their droppings while appearing healthy and clean", the CDC said. You may keep their habitat clean, but the bacteria can easily spread to toys, bedding and almost anywhere they roam. Ten of the eleven infected patients said they had contact with a pet hedgehog before becoming sick.

Symptoms of salmonellaA person infected with salmonella can experience diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria. Most people's Salmonella infections resolve on their own after four to seven days, but in rare cases, the infection can be deadly.

The CDC estimates salmonella causes about 1.2 million illnesses, 23,000 hospitalizations, and 450 deaths each year in the U.S. Households "might consider a different pet" if they have children under 5, adults over 65 and people with weakened immune systems, who are more likely to get sick.

If you pick up a pet hedgehog, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly afterward.

Don't let hedgehogs roam freely in areas where food is prepared or stored.

Cleaning their toys and supplies is also recommended, but also do this in the kitchen, where the germs can spread.

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