CDC warns Americans not to kiss their hedgehogs

01/29/2019 04:00 | NaN

CDC warns Americans not to kiss their hedgehogs

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. Ninety-one percent of ill people told the CDC that they were in contact with hedgehogs. The afflicted, 45% of whom are female, range in age from 2 to 28 years with a reported median age of 12.

The CDC says that one of those affect has been hospitalized and that no deaths have been reported.

The CDC said Friday it has not identified a common supplier of the hedgehogs, but infected people said they bought their hedgehogs from pet stores, breeders and online.

The CDC said Friday that it is now investigating a Salmonella typhimurium outbreak that it believes may be tied to contact with these prickly critters, adding that you definitely shouldn't be cuddling or smooching your pet hedgehog-hard as that may be. I certainly understand the need to squish the cute thing, but the CDC also advises against kissing and snuggling these pets in general-not just during an outbreak.

Even though hedgehogs can appear to be healthy on the outside, the CDC said these tiny mammals can carry salmonella germs in their poop.

Hedgehogs are not the first animals to be implicated in transmitting Salmonella to humans. Additionally, more than 70 Salmonella outbreaks linked to contact with live poultry occurred between 2000-2017, resulting in 4794 cases. Hedgehog pet owners should avoid any face or mouth contact with the animals.

Salmonella can cause symptoms that include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours.

Most people recover without treatment, but some illnesses can last longer and be very severe, especially in young children, older adults, and people with compromised immune systems.

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

Follow the CDC's page update for more health information and prevention tips.

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