Outbreak of Salmonella Infections Linked to Pet Hedgehogs | Outbreak of Salmonella Infections Linked to Pet Hedgehogs | January 2019 | Salmonella

October 2, 2019

CDC and public health officials in several states investigated a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium infections linked to contact with pet hedgehogs.

A total of 54 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium were reported from 23 states. A list of the states and the number of cases in each can be found on the map of reported cases page.

Illnesses started on dates from October 22, 2018, to August 21, 2019. Ill people ranged in age from 2 to 95 years, with a median age of 18 years. Sixty-seven percent were female. Of 30 people with information available, 8 (24%) were hospitalized. No deaths were reported.

Whole genome sequencing (WGS) was performed on 59 isolates from 42 ill people and 17 hedgehogs. Analysis of WGS did not predict antibiotic resistance in isolates from 41 people and 17 hedgehogs. One isolate from one ill person had predicted resistance to ampicillin. Testing of 11 clinical isolates using standard antibiotic susceptibility testing methods by CDC’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) showed no resistance. If antibiotics are needed, this resistance profile should not affect the choice of antibiotic used to treat most people.

Investigation of the Outbreak

In interviews, ill people answered questions about animal contact in the week before they became ill. Of 37 people interviewed, 31 (84%) reported contact with hedgehogs before becoming ill. Ill people reported buying hedgehogs from various sources, including pet stores, breeders, or online.

The outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium was identified in samples collected from 11 hedgehogs in Minnesota and Oregon, including hedgehogs from the homes of six ill people. The outbreak strain was also identified in two samples collected from hedgehog habitats in Michigan. A single, common source of hedgehogs was not identified.

Regardless of where hedgehogs are purchased, they can carry Salmonella germs that can make people sick. People who own or come in contact with hedgehogs can take steps to stay healthy around their pet.

As of October 2, 2019, this investigation is over.

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