Calgary

32 salmonella cases in 6 provinces tied to pet hedgehogs

Four people have been hospitalized and 28 others made ill from outbreaks of salmonella infections in six provinces caused by exposure to pet hedgehogs, the Public Health Agency of Canada says.

Spiny pets linked to salmonella outbreak, warns Public Health Agency of Canada

The Public Health Agency of Canada says there are 32 salmonella illnesses across the country linked to pet hedgehogs. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Four people have been hospitalized and 28 others made ill from outbreaks of salmonella infections in six provinces caused by exposure to pet hedgehogs, the Public Health Agency of Canada says.

According to the agency's investigations, 32 cases of the illness resulted from having direct or indirect contact with the pet beforehand. The outbreak of cases has been reported in six provinces: British Columbia (3), Alberta (6), Saskatchewan (1), Ontario (4), Quebec (17) and New Brunswick (1). 

Four people have been hospitalized.

Hedgehogs can carry salmonella bacteria, so kissing, cuddling or touching them and their environment can put you at risk, the agency says.

The health agency notes that 31 per cent of cases occurred in children 10 years of age and younger. It says salmonella can be especially threatening to children under five years of age, so make sure to supervise them around the pet.

Investigators are trying to determine whether there is a common source between the infected hedgehogs and will update as the investigation evolves.

Alberta Health has confirmed that the six cases in the province between May 22, 2019, to July 26, 2020, included:

  • Three in the Calgary zone.
  • One in the South zone.
  • One in the Central zone.
  • One in the North zone.

Two of the Alberta cases required hospitalization. The patients ranged in age from a one-year-old to 73, with four cases in children under age seven.

The Public Health Agency of Canada offers information online about the symptoms of salmonella infection and tips for the safe handling of hedgehogs.

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