CDC: 11 sickened in salmonella outbreak linked to hedgehogs

Desiree Burns
January 28, 2019

Pet experts say hedgehogs should have room to roam, as they can become depressed or fat without that. Eleven people across eight states have fallen ill after coming into contact with a pet hedgehog, with one individual reportedly hospitalized.

"Don't kiss or snuggle hedgehogs, because this can spread Salmonella germs to your face and mouth and make you sick", the CDC warned.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises the public not to kiss or snuggle with hedgehogs after the prickly animal was linked to multi-state salmonella outbreak.

Three of the patients live in Missouri; two of them live in Minnesota; and one each live in Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Texas, and Wyoming.

The CDC said Friday that it is now investigating a Salmonella typhimurium outbreak that it believes may be tied to contact with these prickly critters, adding that you definitely shouldn't be cuddling or smooching your pet hedgehog-hard as that may be.

Last week, Whole Foods recalled various items in eight states over fears they contain salmonella.

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Salmonella is an extremely nasty infection that can cause diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramping, and in some extreme cases death.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), salmonella is the cause for 1.2 million illnesses, 23,000 hospitalizations, and 450 deaths in the USA annually. You may keep their habitat clean, but the bacteria can easily spread to toys, bedding and almost anywhere they roam.

Most patients recover from salmonella poisoning without treatment, however those who experience severe illness can die from the infection if not treated promptly with antibiotics.

For some people, the risk of infection might be too high, so maybe a hedgehog just isn't the right pet for you - no matter how cute the little guys are.

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

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

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