CDC Investigation Notice: Outbreak of Salmonella Infections Linked to Pet Hedgehogs

Media Statement

For Immediate Release: Friday, January  25, 2019
Contact: Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

Good Afternoon,

A CDC investigation notice of a multistate outbreak of Salmonella infections linked to contact with pet hedgehogs has been posted:

Key points:

  • Eleven people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella have been reported from eight states (CO, ME, MN, MS, MO, NE, TX, WY).
  • One person has been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
  • Fifty-five percent of the ill people are children under 12.
  • Ten of the 11 ill people reported contact with a pet hedgehog.
  • The outbreak strain making people sick was found in samples collected from three hedgehogs in two ill patients’ homes.
  • A common supplier of hedgehogs in this outbreak has not been identified. Ill people reported buying hedgehogs from various sources, including pet stores, breeders, or online.
  • Illnesses started from October 22, 2018 to December 25, 2018.
  • CDC continues to monitor PulseNet to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak.
  • This investigation is ongoing, and CDC will provide updates when more information becomes available.

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. 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.
  • 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.

Thank you,
CDC News Media Branch


CDC works 24/7 protecting America’s health, safety and security. Whether disease start at home or abroad, are curable or preventable, chronic or acute, or from human activity or deliberate attack, CDC responds to America’s most pressing health threats. CDC is headquartered in Atlanta and has experts located throughout the United States and the world.