Hedgehog owners should refrain from kissing their small, spiky friends, health officials warn. Since October, 11 people across eight states have been infected with a particular strain of salmonella, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported, and all but one of those infected said they had contact with a hedgehog.
“Don’t kiss or snuggle hedgehogs because this can spread salmonella germs to your face and mouth and make you sick,” the agency warned.
No deaths have been reported and one person has been hospitalized, the C.D.C. said. Three cases have been reported in Missouri and two in Minnesota. Infections have also been reported in Colorado, Maine, Mississippi, Nebraska, Texas and Wyoming.
“The fact that hedgehogs are a risk is not new,” said Jane Sykes, a professor of small animal internal medicine at the University of California, Davis. “But we don’t know how common the shedding of salmonella is among hedgehogs specifically.”