Federal and several state health officials report investigating a multistate outbreak  of Salmonella Typhimurium infections linked to contact with pet hedgehogs. A common supplier of hedgehogs in this outbreak has not been identified.

Image/amayaeguizabal via pixabay
Image/amayaeguizabal via pixabay

As of January 23, 2019, 11 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium have been reported from eight states. One person has been hospitalized and no deaths have been reported.

The outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium was identified in samples collected from three hedgehogs in two ill patients’ homes in Minnesota.

The CDC offers the following advice to pet owners and retailers:

  • People who own or come in contact with hedgehogs should take steps to stay healthy around their pet.
    • Hedgehogs can carry Salmonella germs in their droppings while appearing healthy and clean.
    • These germs can easily spread to their bodies, habitats, toys, bedding, and anything in the area where they live. People become sick after they touch hedgehogs or anything in their habitats.
  • Wash your hands
    • Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching, feeding, or caring for a hedgehog or cleaning its habitatAdults should supervise handwashing for young children.
  • Play safely
    • Don’t kiss or snuggle hedgehogs, because this can spread Salmonella germs to your face and mouth and make you sick.
    • Don’t let hedgehogs roam freely in areas where food is prepared or stored, such as kitchens.
  • Clean habitats, toys, and supplies outside the house when possible. Avoid cleaning these items in the kitchen or any other location where food is prepared, served, or stored.
  • Pick the right pet for your family. Children under 5 years old, adults over 65, or people with weakened immune systems are at a greater risk for serious illness. Households with these individuals might consider a different pet.
  • Hedgehog breeders, pet stores, or others that sell or display hedgehogs should provide educational materials to employees and customers.