In eight states, eleven people have fallen ill with a pathogenic strain of Salmonella, ten of them after having contact with a hedgehog. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) is warning people to play safely with pet hedgehogs. Doing so means washing your hands after playing with them, refraining from kissing or snuggling with them, and keeping their toys and habitat away from areas where food is stored or prepared.
Salmonella infections can cause stomach distress, diarrhea, and fever. The illness often goes away on its own within about a week of the onset of symptoms. Some cases can be very severe, however, and require hospitalization or lead to death if not treated. In this outbreak, no one has died from their infection yet, but one person has been hospitalized. The CDC is continuing their investigation.