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Spokane man dead in Salmonella outbreak tied to hedgehogs

Thu., Jan. 31, 2013, 2:09 p.m.

A Spokane man in his 90s is the first person to die in a national outbreak of Salmonella that’s been traced to contact with hedgehogs, the Spokane Regional Health District said today.

Seven cases of Salmonella infection in Washington have been linked to contact with hedgehogs.

The health district said in a news release that pet hedgehogs “are one of several animals that can carry Salmonella and other diseases, even when the animals do not appear to be sick.” People can become infected by handling their pets, or the hedgehogs can shed bacteria and contaminate cages, toys, bedding or surfaces, the release said.

The hedgehogs involved in the Salmonella outbreak were bought from several breeders; the one associated with the death of the man in Spokane County was bought locally, the health district said.

Nationally, 20 people in seven states have Salmonella infection linked to hedgehogs.

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