Health Highlights: March 7, 2018

Pet guinea pigs are the likely cause of a salmonella outbreak that has sickened nine people in eight states, the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

The first illness was reported on July 17, 2015 and the last one on Dec. 15, 2017. One person was hospitalized. No deaths were reported.

Even though the last illness was reported late last year, more people could get sick if they're not aware of the risks posed by pet guinea pigs, even if they appear healthy and clean, the CDC said.

Always wash your hands after touching, feeding, caring for, or cleaning the habitats of guinea pigs and other pet rodents, which are not recommended as pets for children younger than 5 years old, and should not be kept in childcare centers or schools with young children.

Salmonella infection can cause diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps. Illness typically lasts 4-7 days and most people recover without treatment. But in some people, diarrhea may be so severe that hospitalization is required, the CDC said.

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