‘Don’t kiss or snuggle hedgehogs' because of salmonella risk, CDC warns

‘Don’t kiss or snuggle hedgehogs' because of salmonella risk, CDC warns

Federal and several state health officials report investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium infections linked to contact with pet hedgehogs.

Even though hedgehogs can appear to be healthy on the outside, the CDC said these tiny mammals can carry salmonella germs in their poop. You may keep their habitat clean, but the bacteria can easily spread to toys, bedding and almost anywhere they roam.

The supplier of the hedgehogs that is causing the outbreak has not been identified, the agency said.

Last week, Whole Foods recalled various items in eight states over fears they contain salmonella. One was hospitalized and there were no reported deaths. As of January 23, the states that have been affected by the outbreak include Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Texas and Wyoming.

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

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If you do have a hedgehog, don't kiss or snuggle it, health officials warns. Most people recover without treatment; however, some can experience severe illness in rare cases if not treated promptly.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Protection issued a warning to pet owners Friday to not "kiss or snuggle" their hedgehogs because of a risk of contracting Salmonella.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), salmonella is the cause for 1.2 million illnesses, 23,000 hospitalizations, and 450 deaths in the USA annually. "Don't let hedgehogs roam freely in areas where food is prepared or stored, such as kitchens", the CDC further suggested. Households "might consider a different pet" if they have children under 5, adults over 65 and people with weakened immune systems, who are more likely to get sick.

If you do touch a hedgehog or clean its supplies, wash your hands immediately afterward.

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