The diseases transmitted from animals to human beings are zoonotic diseases. The hedgehogs are no exception for carrying diseases that threaten human beings. However, that does not mean that all the hedgehogs’ diseases can be transmitted to human beings.
This article will cover most of the harmful diseases that hedgehogs can transmit to humans and how best you can keep yourself healthy.
How Do Hedgehogs Pass Diseases to Humans?
Contagious infections can spread between hedgehogs and humans in a variety of ways. Hedgehogs can bite and/or scratch, though rarely, spreading germs.
You can also become infected by directly or indirectly touching urine, blood, saliva, feces, or other fluids secreted by your hedgehog.
Because your skin is your biggest organ, it is the most common entry point for pathogens. If you have any open wounds, apply an antibacterial lotion-like Neosporin and cover them with a bandage.
Minor wounds, such as a scratch or a paper cut that has broken the skin, fall into this category. Doing this will help keep you and your hedgehog safe.
What Are the Categories of Diseases That Hedgehogs Can Carry?
The four main categories that can be carried by either humans, hedgehogs, or any other living creatures include:
I will cover the specific pathogens that hedgehogs can carry within these categories.
Bacterial Diseases That Hedgehogs Can Pass to Humans
While seeming healthy and clean, Hedgehogs can transmit Salmonella infections in their droppings. Germs may quickly spread from their bodies to their habitats, toys, bedding, and everything else in their environment.
People can become ill if they contact hedgehogs or anything in their environment.
The most common symptoms of this disease are that it causes fever, diarrhea, and stomach cramps in many people 12 to 72 hours after they are exposed to the bacteria. Most patients recover without treatment after the sickness lasts 4 to 7 days.
The disease is so serious that the patient must be admitted to the hospital in certain cases. Infection with Salmonella can move from your intestines to the circulation and other body parts.
A serious disease is more probable among children under the age of five, seniors 65 and older, and persons with compromised immune systems.
Even though it is a rare zoonotic bacterial illness transmitted by hedgehogs, it may be rather dangerous when it happens. It’s a food-borne bacterium mainly found in the colon and/or intestines.
Mucous-covered and bloody feces, cramps in the abdomen, rash, fever, and, in certain circumstances, the sensation of an attack by appendicitis are all possible symptoms.
Avoiding raw foods is the most effective strategy to keep your hedgehog from catching this bacterium. Some nervous parents have inquired about a raw diet, but the danger outweighs the benefit.
That’s not to suggest I am against a diet that closely resembles the proteins they’d get in the wild. If you want to follow a more naturalistic diet, make sure everything is cooked rather than raw.
Parasitic Infections That Hedgehogs Could Pass to Humans
It’s a parasitic species that may survive in the soil, food, or water. It may persist for a long time on surfaces and is resistant to chlorine and hand sanitizers.
However, it is thought that water is the most prevalent way for this parasite to spread. Because it is resilient, the danger factor is primarily determined by the cleanliness of your local water supply.
This parasitic infection leads to diarrhea and is occasionally accompanied by a cough. Those who are immuno-compromised may face a life-threatening situation.
On the other hand, most healthy people will recover on their own provided they stay hydrated and do a replacement of their electrolytes.
Using a bit of prevention is the greatest way to stay healthy. If the quality of your water is in doubt, boil it and then let it cool.
Because that is inconvenient on a regular basis, you can opt for these options. Use a water filter to remove parasites of this size or commercially bottled water.
Viral Infections That Hedgehogs Can carry
It’s been identified as a viral illness that harms people, but a pet hedgehog not exposed to the wild should pose little to no risk. The rabies-carrying hedgehogs are wild hedgehogs who an animal has attacked with rabies.
Herpes, especially Herpes simplex, is more concerning. Because herpes simplex 1 and 2 are so widespread that a pet hedgehog that is re-homed might be a carrier of the knowledge of the new family.
You can avoid exposure by not touching wounds using bare hands, avoiding sharing food from your regular utensils, and properly cleaning your hands with soap and warm water. And sure, some hedgehog parents will eat off a fork or spoon that their hedgehog has recently licked. Avoid this at all costs.
Zoonotic Fungal Diseases That Hedgehogs Carry
It is one of the most prevalent fungal illnesses transmitted by hedgehogs. Some suggest that people may treat it using athlete’s foot cream if found early enough.
When handling your sick hedgehog, it’s also a good idea to wear disposable gloves. Get your diseased hedgehog treated by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Hedgehogs and humans are both zoonotic for several candida species. Candida is a kind of yeast that is found in every mammal’s digestive tract in some amount.
Natural gut flora keeps everything in check. There are, however, several conditions that can tilt the balance.
Antibiotics have the potential to break the delicate balance between candida and good gut flora. If candida takes over the flora, it can make your hedgehog sick and expose you to an excess of candida, thereby putting you in danger.
How Can I Prevent Transmission of Germs Between My Hedgehog and Me?
If you’re unwell and don’t know if you’re contagious to your pet, have a family member or friend feed and water them, clean their cage, and change their litter for you.
This reduces the possibility of transfer and allows you to concentrate on getting better. Do so until you feel better or get medical proof that you are not infectious.
If this may not work for you, take the following to keep your and your hedgehog safe.
- When not giving necessary hedgehog care, keep your hedgehog quarantined away from you to limit their exposure to dangerous contagions.
- Rather than doing care responsibilities many times a day, try to complete them all simultaneously. This will assist in limiting the number of incidences of exposure.
- Exposed skin and hands should be washed with an antimicrobial/antibacterial cleaner and dried with a paper towel that is disposable before undertaking hedgehog care tasks.
- To limit the danger of sharing airborne contagions, put on a germ mask covering your nose and mouth.
- Use a new pair of hygienic nitrile gloves or latex for each encounter with your hedgehog or their things.
- Cover your clothes using a disposable paper gown or a clean pair of clothes that won’t be worn again till they are cleaned.
- After each usage, throw away all germ protection.
When your hedgehog is unwell, you should handle it with caution to avoid zoonotic contamination. Wild hedgehogs contain illnesses that can harm humans compared to farmed hedgehogs.
Because they live in a caring household, most pet hedgehogs are not exposed to a wide spectrum of infectious pathogens. There’s no need to worry. Maintain solid health habits, and you’ll be alright.