Don’t kiss your guinea pigs; cute pets linked to Salmonella outbreak

Add the popular classroom pet, the guinea pig, to the list of kid-infecting-pathogen-factories with chicks, turtles, hedgehogs and puppies.

CDC reports today that whole genome sequencing has linked 9 cases of Salmonella Enteriditis to the furry rodents.

CDC began investigating in December 2017 when CDC PulseNet identified a cluster of three Salmonella Enteritidis infections that whole genome sequencing showed were closely related genetically.

A review of the PulseNet database identified six more closely related illnesses dating back to 2015. These illnesses were added to the outbreak case count. Nine people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Enteritidis have been reported from eight states.Illnesses started on dates ranging from July 17, 2015 to December 15, 2017.
One person was hospitalized, and no deaths were reported.

Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates that contact with pet guinea pigs is the likely source of this multistate outbreak.Four of the seven people interviewed reported contact with a guinea pig or its habitat in the week before getting sick. The outbreak strain of Salmonella was identified in a sample collected from an ill person’s pet guinea pig in Vermont.

Oh, and maybe think about Salmonella risks if you decide to eat guinea pig meat as well. In 2013, 81 people in Minnesota got sick after eating guinea pig meat sourced from an illegal back-room slaughtering operation.

I prefer my rodents talking and riding boats.

 

This entry was posted in Salmonella and tagged , , by Ben Chapman. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ben Chapman

Dr. Ben Chapman is an associate professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University. As a teenager, a Saturday afternoon viewing of the classic cable movie, Outbreak, sparked his interest in pathogens and public health. With the goal of less foodborne illness, his group designs, implements, and evaluates food safety strategies, messages, and media from farm-to-fork. Through reality-based research, Chapman investigates behaviors and creates interventions aimed at amateur and professional food handlers, managers, and organizational decision-makers; the gate keepers of safe food. Ben co-hosts a biweekly podcast called Food Safety Talk and tries to further engage folks online through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and, maybe not surprisingly, Pinterest. Follow on Twitter @benjaminchapman.