The Associated Press
UPDATED: 1 p.m. | Add those cute little hedgehogs to the list of pets that can make you sick.
In the last year, 20 people were infected by a rare but dangerous form of salmonella bacteria. Seven were in Washington state and one of them died.
Investigators say the illnesses were linked to contact with hedgehogs kept as pets.
Health officials on Thursday say such cases seem to be increasing.
In Washington state, two of the seven cases were in Pierce County and lone cases were in King, Clark, Thurston, Whitman and Spokane counties, said state Health Department spokesman Tim Church. The man who died was more than 80-years-old from Spokane and passed away earlier this month.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends thoroughly washing your hands after handling hedgehogs. Also, clean pet cages and other equipment outside.
Other pets that carry the salmonella bug are frogs, toads, turtles, snakes, lizards, chicks and ducklings.
Seven of the hedgehog illnesses were in Washington state, including the death. The other cases were in Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Oregon.