The illnesses were caused by a rare but dangerous type of salmonella bacteria carried by the small pets.
Spokesman Tim Church said there were two cases in Pierce County, and lone cases in King, Clark, Thurston, Whitman and Spokane counties. The victim in Spokane was more than 80 years old and passed away this month.
Church said hedgehogs are like a lot of other little animals, such as frogs, turtles and chicks, that can carry salmonella without appearing ill. He said it's important to wash your hands after handling them and to always wash their cages and other items outside, to avoid spreading bacteria in the house.
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