February 21, 2019

CDC: 11 sickened in salmonella outbreak linked to hedgehogs

27 January 2019, 11:57 | Silvia Roy

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A hedgehog

Meanwhile, the CDC advised pet owners to be extra careful with their hedgehogs that appear clean and healthy as their droppings can still carry Salmonella germs.

The CDC also warned people should not "kiss or snuggle" hedgehogs because they "can spread Salmonella germs to your face and mouth and make you sick".

The CDC has identified 11 people in eight states who were infected with salmonella associated with the pets, with illnesses beginning between October 22 and December 25. Ten of the eleven infected patients said they had contact with a pet hedgehog before becoming sick. There is no death reported and only one was hospitalized.

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The germs can then spread to their bodies, habitats, toys, bedding, and anything else in their living space.

People affected by the outbreak reported buying their pets from various sources, including pet stores, breeders, or on the internet, and a common supplier has not been identified.

Only one person has gone to the hospital because of the outbreak, but health officials are concerned about the growing number of cases infecting people in Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Texas, and Wyoming.

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Symptoms of salmonella infection include fever, diarrhea and stomach cramps.

The CDC estimates salmonella causes about 1.2 million illnesses, 23,000 hospitalizations, and 450 deaths each year in the U.S. Most people don't need treatment, but in rare cases the infection can be deadly, the CDC said. "Don't let hedgehogs roam freely in areas where food is prepared or stored, such as kitchens".

Pick the right pet for your family. The CDC says it's important for people to thoroughly wash hands after touching, feeding or caring for a hedgehog, and children should be supervised.

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Clean habitats, toys, and supplies outside the house when possible.

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