We're going to break from our hard-hitting crime and political programing to bring you some news you can use: specifically, how to prevent your disease-addled hedgehog from spewing salmonella all over you and your kids.
Bacteria-laden, domesticated rodents are a fact of life in American households these days, and the Washington Department of Health reported today that seven cases of salmonella in Washington have been linked to hedgehogs (including one death).
It's part of a national outbreak of salmonella-from-hedgehogs, the DOH says, with the strains found in Washington matching that found in 20 people from seven other states.
The fact that hedgehogs -- a species that has great PR but is totally un-sonic in real life -- could give you disease that at worst is fatal and at best will give you bloody diarrhea makes a pretty strong case to get rid of the miserable things altogether. But short of that, the government recommends that:
...hedgehog owners make sure to wash hands with soap and water after handling the animals and their cages, toys, bedding, water bottles, food, and any other materials used for pet care. In addition, be sure to clean any surfaces potentially contaminated by hedgehogs. Hedgehog owners should also be sure to warn friends and family about the risk of Salmonella and make sure all people having contact with their pet hedgehog wash their hands, too. Many kinds of animals can shed Salmonella bacteria, and these prevention strategies should be used when handling and caring for any animal.
So there's some news you can use. You can thank us later.