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Officials are warning Americans not to kiss their pet hedgehogs

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Americans are being warned not to “kiss or snuggle” their pet hedgehogs after a rise in cases of salmonella.

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 11 people in eight states have been diagnosed with Salmonella Typhimurium in recent months.

After laboratory testing, they have cited contact with pet hedgehogs as the likely cause.

A young woman with a pet hedgehog
Americans are being warned not to kiss and snuggle their hedgehogs (Maryviolet/Getty)

According to the CDC, hedgehogs can carry salmonella germs in their droppings which can easily spread to other parts of their bodies.

The CDC advises: “Don’t kiss or snuggle hedgehogs, because this can spread salmonella germs to your face and mouth and make you sick.”

Other advice includes keeping hedgehogs away from areas where food is prepared or stored and for pet owners to wash their hands after contact with the animals.

A cute hedgehog on a chair
Hedgehogs are becoming increasingly popular as pets (pandpstock001/Getty)

The CDC said that of the 11 people to have contracted the rare strain of salmonella between October and December, 10 reported contact with hedgehogs.

No deaths have been reported, but one person was admitted to hospital.

Hedgehogs have become increasingly popular as pets in recent years thanks in part to popular Instagram accounts like Darcy The Flying Hedgehog, who has nearly 300,000 followers.

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