Do you have a hedgehog for a pet? While they are certainly adorable, they do come with their own unique set of care issues. Among those is an increased risk for Salmonella contamination. Hedgehogs can carry Salmonella bacteria in their droppings even when they appear healthy. The bacteria then spread to their habitats and anything in the area where they live. Their owners can then get sick from handling the animal, or anything in its environment it has touched. In January of this year, 49 people were infected with Salmonella Typhimurium across 25 states that was linked to hedgehog contact. This is the same strain that caused an outbreak in 2019 and 2012.
Hedgehog Food Recalled
In February of this year Vitakraft Sun Seed issued a recall notice for their Smart Hedgehog Food for possible Salmonella contamination. Vitakraft Sun Seed was notified on February 19, 2021, by the Michigan Department of Agriculture that Salmonella was detected in an inspection sample of product from Lot Number 343422. The tests which discovered the bacteria were part of random testing performed by the State of Michigan on consumer products, and not prompted by any consumer concerns. To date there have been no reports of illness.
To stay healthy and have a hedgehog, the CDC recommends you keep these tips in mind:
- Always wash thoroughly wash your hands after handling a hedgehog or anything in it’s environment.
- Don’t kiss or snuggle the hedgehog, or eat or drink around it. Do no allow the hedgehog in your kitchen or around any areas where you eat or drink.
- Clean habitats and toys, food and water dishes, and the hedgehog itself outside the house if possible. If you must care for it indoors, thoroughly clean and disinfect the area immediately after.