Stop kissing your pet hedgehogs, US officials plead as more Americans contract salmonella from snuggling their prickly friends
- Another 6 people have contracted salmonella from their pet hedgehogs
- That brings the total case-load to 17 across three states, the CDC says
- The CDC has been warning people against cuddling hedgehogs since October – to no avail
More people have fallen sick after kissing and snuggling their pet hedgehogs, the CDC warns.
Another six people were added to the caseload this week in a multi-state outbreak that has sickened 17 people across Iowa, Virginia and Washington.
Two people have been hospitalized, but none have died. About a third of those affected are children.
Officials have been trying to persuade Americans not to snuggle hedgehogs since the outbreak began in October, but the new report suggests their efforts have been in vain.
Many Americans just can’t resist snuggling pet hedgehogs, the CDC says
‘Don’t kiss or snuggle hedgehogs, because this can spread Salmonella germs to your face and mouth and make you sick,’ the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said bluntly in its latest update.
‘Don’t let hedgehogs roam freely in areas where food is prepared or stored, such as kitchens.’
The officials warn hedgehogs can spread salmonella through their stool. Given their mass of spines, it can be easy for hedgehogs’ droppings to get stuck and linger.
The CDC is taking the outbreak very seriously, launching an investigation into whether the offending hedgehogs are in some way connected.
Thus far, ‘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,’ the agency said.
They added: ‘This investigation is ongoing.’