(CBSDFW.COM) – One person in Texas and 26 other people in the country have fallen ill after a multistate outbreak of Salmonella infections linked to contact with pet hedgehogs.
Two people were hospitalized but no deaths have been reported. Illnesses started from October 22, 2018 to April 8, 2019.
Forty-two percent of the ill people are children age 12 or younger, according to the Centers For Disease Control.
The CDC has yet to identify a common supplier of hedgehogs in the outbreak. Ill people reported buying hedgehogs from various sources, including pet stores, breeders, or online.
The CDC continues to monitor PulseNet to identify illnesses that may be part of the outbreak.
Here’s some general advice on pet hedgehogs:
- Hedgehogs can carry Salmonella germs in their droppings while appearing healthy and clean.
- Germs can easily spread to their bodies and anything in the area where they live.
- Pick the right pet for your family. People who are more likely to get a serious illness are children younger than 5, adults over 65, and people who have health problems or take medicines that lower the body’s ability to fight germs and sickness. Households with these individuals might consider a different pet.
- Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching, feeding, or caring for a hedgehog or cleaning its habitat. Adults should supervise handwashing for young children.
- 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 hedgehog habitats, toys, and supplies outside the house when possible.
- Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 12-72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment.
- If you have questions about cases in a particular state, please call that state’s health department.