Ten more Americans have contracted Salmonella after kissing and snuggling their pet hedgehogs, a new CDC report reveals.
It means 27 people have now been struck by the multi-state outbreak of hedgehog-related vomiting in California, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Oregon, Tennessee, Iowa, Virginia and Washington that started last October.
Two people have been hospitalized, but none have died. Just shy of half of those affected (42 percent) are children under the age of 12.
Officials have been trying to persuade Americans not to snuggle hedgehogs since the outbreak began in October, but the new report suggests their efforts have been in vain.
‘Don’t kiss or snuggle hedgehogs, because this can spread Salmonella germs to your face and mouth and make you sick,’ the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said bluntly in its latest update.
‘Don’t let hedgehogs roam freely in areas where food is prepared or stored, such as kitchens.’
The officials warn hedgehogs can spread salmonella through their stool. Given their mass of spines, it can be easy for hedgehogs’ droppings to get stuck and linger.
The CDC is taking the outbreak very seriously, launching an investigation into whether the offending hedgehogs are in some way connected.
Thus far, ‘a common supplier of hedgehogs in this outbreak has not been identified. Ill people reported buying hedgehogs from various sources, including pet stores, breeders, or online,’ the agency said.
They added: ‘This investigation is ongoing.’