Since 2011, the CDC and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) have been coordinating investigations into outbreaks of human Salmonella Typhimurium infections. Isolates have indistinguishable pulsed-field gel electrophoresis patterns linked to hedgehogs. Before 2011, cases were rare; however, they are increasing, with 14 human cases in 2011, 18 in 2012, and 2 as of February 2013 (this report’s date). Infections have been identified in 8 states; there has been 1 death. Most patients (55%) are female; median age of patients is 13 years (range, <1–91 years). In 14 cases, direct or indirect contact between the patient and a hedgehog was reported the week before the illness. The hedgehogs were purchased from various breeders, many of whom were USDA-APHIS licensed. The reason for the outbreaks is unknown. Commentary Veterinarians are often asked about the best type of pet for a home. Not all pets are suitable for all homes, especially if there are household members at risk for contracting contagious diseases via direct or indirect contact (eg, immunocompromised individuals). Any household with individuals who may not comprehend appropriate sanitation measures (eg, hand washing after handling pets) should not consider any species that has a history of commonly harboring organisms such as Salmonella spp.—Karen Moriello, DVM, DACVD Source Notes from the field: Multistate outbreak of human Salmonella Typhimurium infections linked to contact with pet hedgehogs—United States, 2011-2013. Marsden-Haug N, Meyer S, Bidol SA, et al. MMWR 62:73, 2013.
This capsule is part of the One Health Initiative.