Hedgehog pet owners are being urged not to snuggle with or kiss their pets amid the ongoing multistate salmonella outbreak. So far, 17 individuals have been infected with salmonella from their pet hedgehogs.

Multistate Salmonella Outbreak

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is currently conducting an investigation regarding the multistate salmonella outbreak that is linked to pet hedgehogs. The illnesses started on Oct. 22, 2018, and as of March 27, 17 individuals from 11 states have been infected with the illness.

The patients' age range is from 2 to 95 years old, 53 percent of whom are female, and 14 percent of whom had to be hospitalized. When interviewed, 87 percent reported having contact with hedgehogs in the week before they fell ill.

No deaths have been reported.

Preventing Salmonella

Hedgehogs may carry salmonella in their droppings even when they appear clean and healthy, and the pathogen may be easily spread to their bodies, habitats, toys, and surroundings. Anyone who touches an infected hedgehog or any contaminated thing may be infected as well.

As such, the CDC is urging pet hedgehog owners and anyone who may come in contact with hedgehogs to take extra care. First of all, it is imperative to wash the hands properly and thoroughly with soap and water after handling a hedgehog or any of its things or surroundings.

It is also very important to play with the pets safely, meaning that pet owners must not kiss or snuggle with their pet hedgehog, as this can spread the germs straight to the face and mouth. Hedgehogs must also not be allowed to roam freely in areas where food is stored or prepared to avoid contamination. Similarly, it is best to clean any of their things outside the house or at any other location that does not involve food preparation.

Picking The Right Pet

According to the CDC, children below five years old, adults above 65 years old, and those with weakened immune systems are more vulnerable to such infections. As such, households with these individuals might want to opt for another type of pet.

As for those who fell ill, they got their hedgehogs from various sources such as pet stores, online, and hedgehog breeders. In this matter, hedgehog sellers and breeders are advised to provide educational material to both customers and employees for safety.

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