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updated: 2/1/2013 7:45 AM

Hedgehog Alert! Prickly pets can carry salmonella

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  • A hedgehog sleeps at the SPCA in Largo, Fla. In the last year, 20 people, including one in Illinois, were infected by a rare but dangerous form of salmonella bacteria, and one person died.

      A hedgehog sleeps at the SPCA in Largo, Fla. In the last year, 20 people, including one in Illinois, were infected by a rare but dangerous form of salmonella bacteria, and one person died.

 
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Add those cute little hedgehogs to the list of pets that can make you sick.

In the last year, 20 people in eight states including Illinois were infected by a rare but dangerous form of salmonella bacteria. One person died. Investigators say the illnesses were linked to contact with hedgehogs kept as pets.

Health officials on Thursday say such cases seem to be increasing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends thoroughly washing your hands after handling hedgehogs. Also, clean pet cages and other equipment outside.

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, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Oregon.

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