By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

The Public Health Agency of Canada, with provincial public health partners are investigating a Salmonella outbreak affecting people in at least three provinces.

Image/amayaeguizabal via pixabay

Based on the investigation findings to date, exposure to pet hedgehogs has been identified as the likely source of the outbreak. Many of the individuals who became sick reported having direct or indirect contact with hedgehogs before their illnesses occurred. Ill individuals reported buying hedgehogs from various sources, including pet stores, breeders, or sellers advertising online. The investigation is ongoing to determine if there is a common source of hedgehogs.

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As of November 6, 2020, there are 11 confirmed cases of Salmonella Typhimurium illness in the following provinces: Alberta (4), Saskatchewan (1), and Quebec (6). Individuals became sick between December 2019 and August 2020. No one has been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Hedgehogs can carry Salmonella bacteria even though they appear healthy and clean and show no signs of illness. Even having indirect contact by touching their environments can put you at risk for developing a Salmonella infection.

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This has prompted health officials to advise the public to practice good hand hygiene, frequent handwashing and safe handling of hedgehogs and their environments.

In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with public health officials in several states are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium infections linked to contact with pet hedgehogs.

These the strain in these illnesses have a similar genetic fingerprint to illnesses reported in this outbreak.