Hedgehog alert! Prickly pets can carry salmonella

January 31, 2013 3:01:21 PM PST
They are cute, and becoming bigger stars on the pet scene. But add hedgehogs to the list of pets that can make you sick.

The government is now warning people that hedgehogs can transmit salmonella.

Some 20 people were infected with a rare form of the bacteria last year that was traced back to contact with hedgehogs kept as pets.

And one person died.

Hedgehogs are now widely available in pet stores.

If you do handle a hedgehog, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends washing your hands thoroughly afterward.

Other pets that carry the salmonella bug are frogs, toads, turtles, snakes, lizards, chicks, and ducklings.

Seven of the hedgehog illnesses were in Washington state, including the death. The other cases were in Alabama, Illinois, Indian, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Oregon.