According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least eleven people in eight states are affected by Salmonella and are associated with pet hedgehogs.
"According to epidemiological and laboratory evidence, contact with pet hedgehogs will be the source of this outbreak," and 10 out of 11 Salmonella Typhimurium-infected dogs contacted federal health agencies before becoming hedgehogs.
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At least one was admitted to the outbreak, but no deaths were reported at this time. As of January 23, the outbreak occurred in Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Texas and Wyoming.
"Hedgehogs can transport Salmonella bacteria to feces while looking healthy and clean," explains the CDC. "These germs can easily spread to the body, habitat, toys, bedding and everywhere in the area where they live. People will be sick after touching the hedgehog or habitat."
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The CDC also warned that people should not "kiss or cuddle" hedgehogs because they can spread salmonella bacteria to your face and mouth and make them sick.
A common source of potentially infected hedgehogs is currently unknown, but the CDC noted that there is a possibility of infection with Salmonella, regardless of where these animals were purchased.
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Salmonella infections can cause diarrhea, vomiting, fever and abdominal cramps. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which estimates that Salmonella will cause about 1.2 million diseases annually in the United States, older people and infants are more likely to have the disease.