Published: Sun, January 27, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Stop snuggling hedgehogs, CDC urges amid salmonella outbreak

Stop snuggling hedgehogs, CDC urges amid salmonella outbreak

Americans have been warned by the government not to kiss or snuggle their hedgehogs after an outbreak of salmonella was linked to the tiny mammals.

As of Wednesday, the federal health agency reported 11 cases of infection from eight states.

The bacterial infection, caused by a certain strain of Salmonella, was found in samples collected from hedgehogs in some of the infected peoples' homes.

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

"Hedgehogs can carry Salmonella germs in their droppings while appearing healthy and clean", the CDC said.

"Don't kiss or snuggle hedgehogs, because this can spread Salmonella germs to your face and mouth and make you sick".

One death from the outbreak, which began in October, was reported in California.

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Only one person has gone to the hospital because of the outbreak, but health officials are concerned about the growing number of cases infecting people in Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Texas, and Wyoming.

Symptoms of the infection include fever, diarrhea and stomach pain starting 12 to 72 hours after contact.

It usually lasts for four days to a week and most people survive the illness even without treatment.

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 USA annually. Children under 5 years old, adults over 65, or people with weakened immune systems are at a greater risk for serious illness.

Don't let hedgehogs roam freely in areas where food is prepared or stored.

Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching, feeding, or caring for a hedgehog or cleaning its habitat.

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

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