Pet Hedgehogs Link As Source Of A Salmonella Outbreak

Pet Hedgehogs Link As Source Of A Salmonella Outbreak
Hedgehogs can carry salmonella even when they appear healthy. OLI SCARFF/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Pet Hedgehogs Link As Source Of A Salmonella Outbreak


Pet Hedgehogs Link As Source Of A Salmonella Outbreak.

Hedgehogs can carry salmonella even when they appear healthy.

Wild hedgehogs have been living in Africa forever but only in recent years have they been kept as pets. Most North American pet hedgehogs,typically called African pygmy hedgehogs, were bred from African species and are considered domesticated.

These little animals can make terrific companions when housed and fed appropriately, and their popularity appears to be increasing. But hedgehogs are not meant for everyone. Before you consider bringing a hedgehog into your home, there are several things to be aware of.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a warning for anyone who wants to give one of these spiky furballs a kiss and a snuggle: Don’t. That’s because the CDC is investigating a Salmonella outbreak tied to pet hedgehogs, the agency announced on Jan. 25. So far, 11 cases have been identified.

Ill people identified in the outbreak range in age from 2 to 28, with a median age of 12, the CDC said. One individual has been hospitalized due to the infection, though there have been no deaths.

The cases have been identified in eight states: Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Texas and Wyoming, according to the CDC.

The illnesses began between Oct. 22, 2018 and Dec. 25, 2018, the CDC reported. Of the 11 people affected, 10 reported contact with hedgehogs before getting sick.

Hedgehogs can carry Salmonella in their droppings, even while appearing healthy and clean; these germs can easily spread to their bodies and anything in their living areas, the CDC said. To stay safe while handling a pet hedgehog, don’t kiss or snuggle the animals, as this can spread Salmonella germs to your face and mouth. In addition, don’t let hedgehogs roam freely in areas of the house where food is present, the CDC said.

Always wash your hands after handling a hedgehog.

 

This article on "Hkitnob: Health Columns" is for informational purposes only, and is not meant to offer medical advice.