They might be adorable and are rising in popularity as household pets, but researchers are linking the prickly mammals to a strain of salmonella that is making people sick. No humans have died.
Hedgehog owners should refrain from kissing their small, spiky friends, health officials said on Friday. Since October, 11 people across eight states have been infected with a particular strain of salmonella, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported, and all but one of those infected said they had contact with a hedgehog. “Don’t kiss or snuggle hedgehogs because this can spread salmonella germs to your face and mouth and make you sick,” the agency warned. (Jacobs, 1/27)
If you do touch a hedgehog or clean its supplies, wash your hands immediately afterward. And don’t clean your hedgehog’s cage or toys in the same place you prepare human food. This may be a tall order for a new crop of hedgehog owners eager to cuddle with their new pets. Just last week, hedgehogs were legalized as household pets in Fairfax County. …They are legal in most of the United States — but remain banned in California, Georgia, Hawaii, New York City, Pennsylvania and the nation’s capital, according to the Hedgehog Welfare Society. (Wang, 1/26)
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