Health officials have linked a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium infections to contact with pet hedgehogs, the CDC reported.
As of Jan. 25, there have been 11 cases reported in eight states, with one hospitalization and no deaths. The CDC said 91% of people reporting infection had contact with a hedgehog 1 week before illness onset, although no common supplier has been identified. According to the agency, 45% of the outbreak population is female and the median age of the patients is 12 years.
In Minnesota, samples collected from three hedgehogs in two patients’ homes tested positive for the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium.
“We are still early in our investigation, and there is a 2- to 3-week time period between when people become ill and when those cases are reported to CDC. Therefore, we may get more reports of ill people,” CDC epidemiologist Colin Basler, DVM, MPH, told Infectious Disease News. “We know that hedgehogs can carry Salmonella and appear healthy and clean. People who own hedgehogs should follow prevention tips to keep themselves and their hedgehog healthy.”
Hedgehogs are linked to a multistate outbreak of Salmonella.
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The CDC recommends that people wash their hands after exposure to hedgehogs, refrain from kissing or snuggling the animals, keep the pets out of the kitchen and away from food areas and routinely clean their habitat, toys and other pet supplies.
Adults aged 65 years or older, children aged 5 years or younger and people with weakened immune systems are at the greatest risk for serious illness. The CDC suggests choosing a different pet for households with these individuals.
Since 2017, other multistate Salmonella outbreaks have been linked to pet turtles and pet guinea pigs. Puppies also recently have been found to be a source of infectious pathogens.
The investigation into the outbreak associated with pet hedgehogs is ongoing, and the CDC said it will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available.
“Clinicians who are working with young children, older adults, or immunocompromised individuals should remind patients that some pets can carry germs that could make their patients sick,” Basler said. – by Marley Ghizzone
CDC. Outbreak of Salmonella infections linked to pet hedgehogs. https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/typhimurium-01-19/index.html. Accessed January 29, 2019.
Disclosure: Basler reports no relevant financial disclosures.