Published: Sun, January 27, 2019
Medical | By Vicki Mclaughlin

CDC Investigating Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Pet Hedgehogs

CDC Investigating Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Pet Hedgehogs

The federal government is warning Americans to avoid kissing or snuggling with hedgehogs because they might be carrying salmonella.

As of Friday, the CDC said there had been 11 people in eight states sickened by a strain of Salmonella typhimurium; in 10 of the 11 cases, "ill people reported contact with a hedgehog", the agency said. Following these interviews, CDC's laboratory evidence demonstrated that these tiny pets are likely to blame for the salmonella outbreak. It's not clear yet if a common hedgehog supplier can be traced back, but in the meantime hedgehog owners are advised to be careful.

As the investigation into the outbreak continues, the CDC warns that hedgehog feces can transmit the illness no matter how healthy and adorable a hedgehog appears.

You may keep their habitat clean, however the bacteria can easily spread to toys, bed and anywhere they go.

Follow the CDC's page update for more health information and prevention tips. An additional three cases were reported in Missouri, with one case each in Colorado, Maine, Mississippi, Nebraska, Texas and Wyoming.

One death from the outbreak, which began in October, was reported in California.

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Symptoms of salmonellaA person infected with salmonella can experience diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria.

It usually lasts for four days to a week and most people survive the illness even without treatment.

Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching, feeding, or caring for a hedgehog or cleaning its habitat.

The CDC estimates salmonella causes about 1.2 million illnesses, 23,000 hospitalizations, and 450 deaths each year in the U.S.

Since there is a greater risk of salmonella complications in children under 5, adults over 65, and people with weakened immune systems, health officials say households with these individuals might want to consider a different pet.

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