Hedgehogs: handle with care

Hedgehogs: handle with care

Pet hedgehogs are equal parts odd and endearing. When they’re friendly, they’re even huggable, in spite of their quills. But hold that thought, because it can mean trouble.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, recently announced that a Salmonella outbreak involving eight states has been linked to contact with pet hedgehogs. A similar warning was issued in 2013 after a patient died in another hedgehog-related Salmonella outbreak.

People with Salmonella infections usually get diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramping. Although signs often resolve within days, severe cases require hospitalization.

Oddly, hedgehogs can carry Salmonella without getting sick themselves. That’s why the CDC recommends you wash your hands after handling any hedgehog or cleaning its housing, and refrain from cuddling these spiny sweethearts.

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