Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Infections Linked to Hedgehogs

Media Statement

For Immediate Release: Friday, May 31, 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:

  • Ten more people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella have been reported, bringing the total to 27 people.
  • Six more states are included in this investigation (CA, IN, KS, MI, OR, TN).
  • Two people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
  • Forty-two percent of the ill people are children age 12 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 April 8, 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. 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.

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Page last reviewed: May 31, 2019