Attention all hedgehog owners: go wash your hands. And then, get up and go wash them again.
As of January 25th, 2019, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC) has multiple public health officials in numerous states investigating an outbreak of Salmonella linked to the cutie patootie pets.
Eleven people have been reported infected in eight states. Thankfully no one has died as a result. One person has been hospitalized.
Experts are pretty certain the line of contamination leads back to hedgehogs specifically, as strange as that may seem. Why? Ten of the 11 infected people say they had contact with the fuzzy pets prior to falling sick.
The CDC says that a common supplier of the pets has yet to be identified.
They do say for certain though, that the strain causing people to fall ill was identified in samples collected from pet owners’ homes in Minnesota. So, blame it on the North.
Hedgehogs carry Salmonella in their poop. Scarily, they do this while appearing healthy and clean. The germs spread easily to the pets’ bodies, habitats, toys and bedding, making it very easy for owners to become sick.
Advice? Always wash your hands after handling your pet and anything associated with it. Also, the CDC advises that you refrain from kissing and snuggling your hedgehog, and that you prevent them from roaming free in areas where you prepare and store food, such as your kitchen.
People infected with Salmonella commonly develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria.