The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned of a salmonella outbreak across eight states spread by pet hedgehogs.
The breeder source of the infected hedgehogs has not been identified, but the outbreak strain was pinpointed in three hedgehogs in two Minnesota homes of people who have fallen ill.
Eleven people have reportedly gotten sick, with 10 of those telling medical investigators that they had contact with a hedgehog. Patients range in age from 2 years old to 28 years old. One person has been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported, said the CDC.
Affected states so far have been Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Texas, and Wyoming. Illnesses began on Oct. 22.
“Hedgehogs can carry Salmonella germs in their droppings while appearing healthy and clean,” the CDC said. “These germs can easily spread to their bodies, habitats, toys, bedding, and anything in the area where they live. People become sick after they touch hedgehogs or anything in their habitats.”
“Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching, feeding, or caring for a hedgehog or cleaning its habitat. Adults should supervise handwashing for young children,” the agency added. “Don’t kiss or snuggle hedgehogs, because this can spread Salmonella germs to your face and mouth and make you sick. Don’t let hedgehogs roam freely in areas where food is prepared or stored, such as kitchens.”
The CDC also advised that hedgehog habitats, toys, and supplies are cleaned outside of the house when possible, and added that homes with children under age 5, adults over over 65 and people with compromised immune systems pick a different pet.
Earlier this month, the CDC declared over a salmonella outbreak in which the bacteria was found in Duncan Hines cake mix but “the outbreak investigation did not produce other information needed to determine whether the cake mix was linked to the Salmonella illnesses.”
Seven people fell ill in Florida, Maryland, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin from June 13 to Oct. 5, 2018. There were no hospitalizations or deaths.