Health officials are warning people who own pet hedgehogs and bearded dragons to take extra precautions to avoid being infected with Salmonella after multiple outbreaks this year.
As of September 30, pet hedgehogs are linked to an outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium, with at least 32 illnesses reported in 17 states between April and August 2020. Five people have been hospitalized due to a severe illness.
In interviews, sick people said they bought pet hedgehogs from pet stores, breeders, or online stores, but a common source of hedgehogs has not been identified.
As of October 1, pet bearded dragons are linked to an outbreak of Salmonella Muenster in 8 states. At least 13 people were infected between February and August 2020. Seven people were hospitalized.
In interviews, sick people said they bought bearded dragons from pet stores in multiple states, but a common supplier has not been identified.
The CDC is warning that hedgehogs and bearded dragons can look healthy and clean, but still carry Salmonella bacteria in their droppings. These germs can easily spread to their bodies, habitats, toys, bedding, and anything in the area where they live.
The CDC is also reminding people who own hedgehogs and bearded dragons not to kiss or snuggle their pets. Owners should always wash their hands after feeding, touching, or cleaning their pet’s habitat.