Last Updated on November 8, 2022.

  • Zoonosis is the ability for an animal to pass a disease to a human.
  • Anthroponosis is the ability for a human to pass a disease to an animal.
  • At this time, this is the list of reported diseases that have been passed to humans from a hedgehog; however, some of these diseases have only had a few incidence reports.Please keep in mind that this information is not meant to scare you but to be truthful and honest about all reports related to all hedgehogs and not just African Pygmy Hedgehogs bred in captivity.
  • Reports of illness from breeders in the United State are actually fairly rare.

Types of Illness

    • Mammalian Tuberculosis
      • Not recorded to date in the UK, but a few incidences have occurred in isolated hedgehogs in New Zealand
    • Pasteurella Infection
      • Caused by bites or punctures from spines
    • Pseudomonas
      • Actually common
      • Can be transmitted via bites or skin punctures
    • Rabies
      • Very uncommon (especially when a hedgehog is purchased from a breeder as the animal must first be infected either by parent or another animal infected)
    • Ringworm
      • Common fungal infection that could be picked up from a hedgehog
    • Salmonellosis
      • Common bacterial infection caught from a hedgehog
    • Staph infections
      • Common
      • Via bites or punctures
    • Parasites are the most likely that could be picked up from a hedgehog, but the numerous parasites that can infect humans are:
      • This includes
        • Giardia
        • Trichinella
        • Toxoplasmosis
          • Very uncommon as the hedgehog would have to be eaten to pick it up via this route
          • Fleas
          • Chigger (mite)
          • Mange (via sarcoptic mite)
          • Lungworm infection
            • Rarely occurs in humans
            • Tick-borne diseases
              • Lyme disease
              • Louping-Ill
              • Q-fever
      • Be fought off by the immune system
      • Most likely cannot live in a hedgehog, so it cannot be passed to you
      • Will most likely be mites (these can be found in wood bedding), but are simply pests that can be washed off
      • There is a good chance humans can pass diseases to a hedgehog
        • MRSA can be passed
        • Strep has been reported once to pass
        • Viral infections (less common as the proteins required for viral attachment to a cell are not similar between humans and hedgehogs)
        • Bacterial infections (though less likely if good hygiene is kept)(mycobacterium is common to pass though)
        • Parasitic infections can occur (i.e. we are more likely to give them tapeworm than they would be to give it to us; this is due to the ease at which humans would pick up the parasite due to outdoor activities)
        • Fungal infections can be common (such as ringworm)
        • Fish tank granuloma can occur if a hedgehog is kept in an old fish tank. It creates a bacterial cyst; humans can also transmit it on their hands if they were in contact with a fish tank
        • The best way to prevent disease transmission is to WASH YOUR HANDS and to be sure you are not carrying any disease prior to holding your hedgehog.
          • Example: If you have MRSA, then it would be best to avoid handling the hedgehog until the infection passes.

    Hedgehog Zoonoses

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    Hedgehog Zoonotic Pathogens

Contributor:  Gail Smith

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