The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned and reported about 9 cases of a Salmonella infection across the United States with a connection to guinea pigs kept as pets. These infections resulted in hospitalization and were happening from 2015 to 2017.
Salmonella is a gram-negative bacterium from the family Enterobacteriaceae. This bacteria targets and affects the intestinal tract and is transmitted through the feces of an infected person or an animal. Humans contract the infection through drinking contaminated water or eating contaminated food. Food and water can become contaminated easily by cross-contamination with animals.
The infection manifests with diarrhea and vomiting, and usually resolve itself in 4 to 7 days. Extreme cases of dehydration may need to be hospitalized and monitored by a professional.
The CDC reminds that guinea pigs, no matter how healthy and clean they look, they can still carry bacteria like Salmonella. That is why proper hygiene is of great importance.
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