Hedgehogs and Salmonella Typhimurium Infection in People
Like all pets, hedgehogs can carry bacteria and viruses that can make people sick. Recently a number of cases of Salmonella Typhimurium in people have been linked to exposure to pet hedgehogs. This is a bacteria that hedgehogs can carry in their intestines without showing any signs of illness. Symptoms in people include diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps. Severe cases require hospitalization and can be fatal. Risks of illness are higher in children under the age of 5, the elderly, and immunocompromised persons. If you feel ill, contact your physician and inform them you have a pet hedgehog.
To protect yourself from infection we recommend practicing good hygiene. Always wash your hands thoroughly after handling your pet or its cage furnishings. Avoid touching your face or mouth while handling your pet. Keep your hedgehog away from your face. Do not kiss your hedgehog. Do not eat, drink, or smoke while handling your hedgehog. Keep pet hedgehogs out of the kitchen or anywhere food is prepared or consumed.
For more information on human Salmonella exposure from pet hedgehogs visit the Centers for Disease Control's website at https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/typhimurium-01-19/index.html.