- After 17 people became infected with salmonella linked to hedgehogs, The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning people about the dangers of keeping the animals as pets.
- As of now, 11 states are affected by this outbreak.
- Washing your hands and abstaining from kissing or cuddling hedgehogs, regardless of how cute they are, can help prevent the contraction and spread of salmonella, according to the CDC.
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning people that hedgehogs may be carriers of salmonella.
On January 25, the CDC announced that 11 cases of hedgehog-linked salmonella had been discovered. On Friday, that number was updated to 17 cases. Six of the infected people are children 12 years old or younger.
The states affected include Iowa, Virginia, Washington, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Texas, Wyoming, and Nebraska.
The CDC reported that the strain of salmonella causing this outbreak, salmonella typhimurium, was found in three of the pet hedgehogs. Some 13 of the infected people said they had contact with a pet hedgehog, but the CDC has not yet found a common supplier of hedgehogs to link to the outbreak.
“Small pets can carry germs even if they look healthy and clean,” the CDC wrote on its website.
Two people were hospitalized due to the outbreak, but no deaths have been reported.
Hand washing and other safety measures can protect against salmonella
According to the CDC, people who handle hedgehogs should wash their hands regularly with soap and water. This includes whenever a person is cleaning habitats or simply holding the hedgehog. Cleaning the pet’s cage and any surface they touch is also important.
Families should also think about the types of pets they get and the risks that come with them. “Children under 5 years old, adults over 65, or people with weakened immune systems are at a greater risk for serious illness,” the CDC explained. “Households with these individuals might consider a different pet.”
People should be aware of salmonella symptoms, like nausea and diarrhoea
In addition to taking the above precautions, being aware of salmonella symptoms can help expedite treatment. Most people who get salmonella will develop diarrhoea, fever, and stomach cramps between 12 and 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria.
Usually, these symptoms last for four to seven days and resolve on their own, the CDC said.
If the symptoms persist for longer or a person experiences severe dehydration from diarrhoea, they may need to be hospitalized and given antibiotics.
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