Hedgehogs May Be To Blame For Salmonella Outbreak In 8 States

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Hedgehogs can carry salmonella even when they appear healthy. Oli Scarff AFP Getty Images

Meanwhile, the CDC advised pet owners to be extra careful with their hedgehogs that appear clean and healthy as their droppings can still carry Salmonella germs.

The bacterial infection, caused by a certain strain of Salmonella, was found in samples collected from hedgehogs in some of the infected peoples' homes. These germs can then spread to their living spaces, toys, and bedding, which can make caretakers sick.

The agency says that lab tests have shown that the 'contact with pet hedgehogs is the likely source of this outbreak'.

The CDC has identified 11 people in eight states who were infected with salmonella associated with the pets, with illnesses beginning between October 22 and December 25.

The cases have been reported in eight states including Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Maine, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado and Texas.

In response to the infections, the CDC gave tips on how to be safe around hedgehogs, including "don't kiss, snuggle, or hold small pets close to your face".

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Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain that generally last between four and seven days.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises the public not to kiss or snuggle with hedgehogs after the prickly animal was linked to multi-state salmonella outbreak.

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 United States annually. Most people recover without treatment; however, some can experience severe illness in rare cases if not treated promptly.

If you pick up a pet hedgehog, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly afterward. The CDC recommends against letting these pets wander freely in areas where you prepare food.

Clean habitats, toys, and supplies outside the house when possible.

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