CDC: 11 sickened in salmonella outbreak linked to hedgehogs

Hedgehog held in hands isolated on white

Eleven people, 10 of them children, have reported infections related to the outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In addition to the person from Nebraska, people in Missouri, Colorado, Wyoming, Minnesota, Texas, Mississippi and ME have been affected, the CDC said.

They may be cute - if prickly - but lab tests in an ongoing investigation show that pet hedgehogs are probably to blame for a multistate salmonella outbreak.

However, for those who could never part with little "Spike", "Sonic" or "S", the agency has recommended avoiding certain direct contact with their hedgehogs: That is, not nuzzling them or propping them up to your face for the flawless Instagram photo.

At least one person has been hospitalized in relation to the outbreak but no deaths have been reported at this time.

Symptoms of salmonella include: fever, diarrhea and stomach cramps and can last four to seven days.

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"Hedgehogs can carry Salmonella germs in their droppings while appearing healthy and clean", the CDC said. You may keep their habitat clean, but the bacteria can easily spread to toys, bedding and almost anywhere they roam.

There isn't any common supplier of hedgehogs that links the 11 cases, according to the CDC, which is investigating the matter. Households "might consider a different pet" if they have children under 5, adults over 65 and people with weakened immune systems, who are more likely to get sick.

The CDC estimates salmonella causes about 1.2 million illnesses, 23,000 hospitalizations, and 450 deaths each year in the U.S.

The CDC also warned people should not "kiss or snuggle" hedgehogs because they "can spread Salmonella germs to your face and mouth and make you sick".

The CDC advises people to keep small pets away from areas where meals are being prepared and to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after any contact or care.

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