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Hedgehogs cause salmonella outbreak

05 February 2013 09:40

Hedgehogs in the US are believed to be carrying salmonella typhimurium

Hedgehogs in the US are believed to be carrying salmonella typhimurium

Pet hedgehogs are believed to have caused a salmonella outbreak that has affected 20 people in the United States in the last 14 months. One man has died and four others have been hospitalised after contracting a bacteria strain called salmonella typhimurium, according to a new report from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC confirmed seven cases of salmonella poisoning had been reported in Washington State, while Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio have all reported three cases since the initial outbreak in December 2011. Infections have also taken place in Alabama, Illinois, Indiana and Oregon, which has sparked calls for holidaymakers to cover all bases by taking out medical travel insurance ahead of their trip to the US.

Salmonella infections are most commonly found in cases of food poisoning, although hedgehogs and turtles have been linked to the spread of the disease. Most cases have been discovered in children who have become infected after handling their pets. The CDC has advised parents to supervise youngsters handling the animals and to make sure they wash their hands after touching the pet.