Guinea Pigs Linked To Salmonella Outbreak: Here's What You Can Do To Stay Safe

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention linked a multi-state outbreak to contact with guinea pigs. Owners of the pet rodents are advised to follow certain rules to keep themselves safe from the disease.  ( Justin Sullivan | Getty Images )

Many people may think that guinea pigs make cute and cuddly pets, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that the animals may be linked to a multistate salmonella outbreak.

Fortunately, there are some things that guinea pig lovers can do to make sure that they will not be infected by the disease.

Guinea Pigs Linked To Salmonella Outbreak

In a report published by the CDC, it revealed that it was investigating a multistate salmonella outbreak alongside the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

The CDC started investigating the salmonella outbreak in December 2017, when three different salmonella infections were revealed to be closely related to each other genetically. A review of the CDC PulseNet database revealed six more infections dating back to 2015, with the nine cases reported from eight states and with one hospitalization.

According to the CDC, evidence points to the likelihood that the salmonella outbreak was caused by pet guinea pigs. Four out of seven victims who were interviewed said that they came into contact with a guinea pig or its habitat. The strain of the salmonella was also identified in a sample that was collected from a guinea pig in Vermont, and it was discovered to be closely related genetically to the salmonella bacteria that were acquired from the infected people.

For guinea pig lovers, the CDC advised that the animals may still carry salmonella even if they look healthy and clean. Guinea pigs, like other rodents, may carry and transmit the bacteria even if they are raised as domestic pets.

The CDC said that guinea pigs and other rodents are not recommended for children who are younger than 5 years old, due to their susceptibility to sicknesses such as salmonella. In addition, guinea pig owners are reminded to always wash their hands after coming into contact with their pets.

Recent Causes Of Salmonella Outbreaks

Guinea pigs are not the only pets that have been recently linked to salmonella outbreaks. In August 2017, the CDC revealed that a rare strain of the disease that does not usually infect humans was linked to contact with pet turtles.

Last month, the CDC linked a salmonella outbreak to kratom supplements. The CDC had previously warned consumers against using the unregulated herbal supplement, and its connection to salmonella added to the list of reasons for recommending against the usage of kratom.

A few days after the CDC published its report, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration opened a campaign to wipe the market clean of products that use kratom as an ingredient. In addition to its link to salmonella, kratom has also been proven to be addictive like other opioids.

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