Physical Contact with your
Could Result in Bacterial Disease Report Says
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that 27 cases in 17 states have been hit with Salmonella cases after pet-owners made physical contact with their hedgehogs. As uncommon of a house pet as these may be, it is still advised that those with these pets be very careful about making careless physical contact with their hedgehogs.
Salmonella is a bacterial disease that is transmitted through feces from animals or humans to other living hosts. Most commonly, humans get contaminated with salmonella through food or water. According to the Mayo Clinic, most people get any symptoms but those who do tend to have one or more of the following: diarrhea, vomiting, and/or abdominal cramps. Those who do have the symptoms of Salmonella will show it anytime between eight and seventy-two hours after being infected.
And if you thought this was the first time there was an outbreak of Salmonella in connection to physical contact with hedgehogs, then you would be mistaken. Back in 2013, a similar report went out that showed that there was a particular strain of this bacterial disease that was commonly present in hedgehogs.
Hedgehogs, amongst a variety of other house pets housed in cages (such as hamsters, lizards, snakes, mice or ferrets) often walk through their own feces, the host of the salmonella. Thus, when pet owners are taking out their hedgehogs to kiss, cuddle or play with them, it is often here where the Salmonella is transmitted to the human and the infection can stay and grow. The CDC advises owners of these little pets to be cautious when making physical contact with their hedgehogs as the process of transmitting the disease to the human host can be as simple as picking up the hedgehog and giving it a cute little kiss.
In addition to the physical contact with hedgehogs, the report by the CDC advises against letting these pets roam freely outside of the cage. The Salmonella may then get across furniture, counter tops or carpet where human hands, feet or faces may end up later. If you do plan on letting your little hedgehog run freely, then be sure to wash everything throughly afterwords.
Not only should you be washing the areas of your house where the hedgehog may have been, but the most important step, as with any bacterial disease prevention, is to wash your hands thoroughly before and after making physical contact with your hedgehog. Although everyone should heed this advice it is most important for small children as they are most likely to stick their hands in their mouths. In fact, just under half of the Salmonella cases that were reported in relation to physical contact with hedgehogs were children under the age of 12.
For more information regarding the CDC report or how to prevent yourself and others from getting Salmonella disease some articles have been listed below. In addition, there is an article on how to best care for your hedgehog if you currently have one or are thinking of purchasing one.