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Zoonoses and other findings in hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus): a survey of mortality and review of the literature
  1. IF Keymer,
  2. EA Gibson and
  3. DJ Reynolds
  1. Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Veterinary Investigation Centre, Norwich.


A survey of mortality in hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) was carried out between July 1976 and November 1986. Most were from Norfolk. Of the 74 examined, 35 (47.3 per cent) were road casualties, one of which yielded Salmonella typhimurium phage type (PT) 104. Of the remaining 39, 13 (33.3 per cent) had salmonellosis due to S enteritidis PT 11. This organism, which appears to be common and widespread in hedgehogs in England was found in 10 separate incidents. The only other zoonosis was ringworm (Trichophyton erinacei infection). Other findings included ectoparasitic infestations with mange mites (Caparinia tripilis), fleas (Archaeopsylla erinacei) and ticks (Ixodes hexagonus). Helminths comprised Crenosoma striatum lungworms (associated with Bordetella bronchiseptica infection in one animal), intestinal nematodes (Capillaria species), cestodes (Rodentolepis erinacei), trematodes (Brachylaemus erinacei) and acanthocephalans (Prosthoryhnchus species). Metaldehyde poisoning was diagnosed in three animals. Over a 10 year period 370 carcases were counted on a stretch of 18 miles of road in Norfolk. The major causes of mortality are probably road casualties and hypothermia during the winter months. In December 1988 S enteritidis PT 11 was isolated from three of four carcases examined in Berkshire and the zoonosis pseudotuberculosis (Yersinia pseudotuberculosis infection) was diagnosed in two of them.

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