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Are Pet Hedgehogs Spreading Salmonella Infections?

Update Date: Feb 01, 2013 08:08 AM EST

The cute pet hedgehogs can do more than prick; they can make people sick, if the recent reports are to be believed.

In the year 2012, 20 people were infected with Salmonella Typhimurium, an unusual yet hazardous strain, and one out of them has died. The researchers were able to associate the outbreak with the pet hedgehog's contact, and the count is on the rise, according to health officials. Washington State reported seven cases of Salmonella and one death by Salmonella infection, all of which were associated with pet hedgehogs.

There have been suggestions given by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to combat this: washing hands after coming in contact with hedgehogs, and cleaning pet cages and other equipments regularly with disinfectants, to name a few. Also, the health officials recommend the people selling these hedgehogs to provide instructions for their care while selling them. In addition, people who keep hedgehogs as pets should guide other persons touching them regarding the precautions to be taken.

Apart from hedgehogs, there are other household pets which can carry Salmonella. Common symptoms of Salmonellosis are severe diarrhea (with or without blood), fever, chills and vomiting. The symptoms are observed within three days of Salmonella exposure and can last between several days and months. There are medications to cure Salmonella infections, though the symptoms disappear after some time without treatment.

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