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Hedgehogs 'probably' to blame for salmonella outbreak; stop snuggling them — CDC

27 January 2019

10 of the 11 patients said they'd been in contact with a pet hedgehog before they got sick, according to the agency.

First, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said not to kiss or snuggle with your chickens; now, the agency is cautioning against PDA with pet hedgehogs.

The cases have been reported in eight states including Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Maine, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado and Texas. One person has been hospitalized to date.

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The CDC said Friday it has not identified a common supplier of the hedgehogs, but infected people said they bought their hedgehogs from pet stores, breeders and online.

The illness, with symptoms of severe stomach pain, diarrhea, and fever within 12 to three days after exposure to the bacteria, began in October to December.

Hedgehogs can carry salmonella even if they appear healthy. Most people's Salmonella infections resolve on their own after four to seven days, but in rare cases, the infection can be deadly.

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There are an estimated 1.2 million salmonella cases in the United States annually, and various foods are to blame for about 1 million of those illnesses, according to the CDC. You may keep their habitat clean, but the bacteria can easily spread to toys, bedding and almost anywhere they roam.

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. This can be easily transferred in their habitat, toys, beddings, and anywhere else the animals stay, so it is best to constantly wash hands with soap after holding or feeding the pet and cleaning its things. "Don't let hedgehogs roam freely in areas where food is prepared or stored, such as kitchens".

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Hedgehogs 'probably' to blame for salmonella outbreak; stop snuggling them — CDC