A CDC investigation update: Salmonella infections linked to hedgehogs

Media Statement

For Immediate Release: Friday, March 29, 2019
Contact: Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

A CDC investigation update of a multistate outbreak of Salmonella infections linked to contact with pet hedgehogs has been posted: https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/typhimurium-01-19/index.html.

Updates:

  • Since the last update on January 25, 2019, six more people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella have been reported, bringing the total to 17 cases.
  • Three states have been added to this investigation (Iowa, Virginia, and Washington).
  • Two people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
  • Six out of 14 ill people with available information (43%) are children 12 years of age or younger.
  • 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 March 1, 2019.
  • 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 younger than 5 years old, adults over 65, and people with weakened immune systems are at a greater risk for serious illness. Households with these people 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.

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Page last reviewed: March 29, 2019