Weekly News Roundup 1/25 to 1/31


CDC warns against kissing, snuggling pet hedgehogs amid Salmonella outbreak

It’s not every day that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issues an advisory about pet hedgehogs, but here we are. The CDC said last Friday that it’s currently investigating a Salmonella typhimurium outbreak that it believes may be tied to contact with these prickly critters, adding that you definitely shouldn’t be cuddling or smooching them—hard as that may be. Eleven people across eight states have fallen ill after coming into contact with a pet hedgehog, with one individual reportedly hospitalized. No deaths have been reported in this outbreak, but a hedgehog-related Salmonella outbreak involving the same strain was linked to the death of a man in Washington in 2013. . . . more

Massive study links mind-altering cat parasite to schizophrenia

More than 40 million people in the United States may be infected with the single-celled cat-borne parasite Toxoplasma gondii, according to the CDC. The infection typically occurs by eating or handling undercooked, contaminated meat or shellfish; drinking contaminated water; or accidentally swallowing the parasite through contact with cat feces. While very few infected individuals are known to experience the physiological symptoms associated with a Toxoplasma infection, new research led by the Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark suggests the parasite may in fact be a “contributing causal factor for schizophrenia” in humans. . . . more

The beauty industry is getting a makeover—And animals aren’t involved

Back in 2015, L’Oréal announced that it was experimenting with printing human skin tissue on which to test its cosmetics. The French beauty giant—which owns Lancôme and Maybelline, among many other brands—was the first beauty conglomerate to announce such intentions. The same year, L’Oréal partnered with Organovo, a San Diego–based startup that designs and creates functional human tissues using bioprinting technology. These 3D-printed tissues, which could be a reality by 2020, mimic the form and function of native tissue in the body, and testing on them could signal a revolution in the world of cosmetics: animal-free testing. . . . more

Oregon woman high on her dog’s Xanax medication when she killed cyclist with car

An Oregon woman on trial this week for killing a cyclist in December 2017 reportedly had her dog’s Xanax medication in her system at the time of the collision. The Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office alleged on Monday that Shantel Lynn Witt, 42, had 10 other drugs in her body in addition to the Xanax on the day of the crash, and court papers state that she had been “impaired on her dog’s medication at the time of the crash.” Witt was charged with driving under the influence, three counts of reckless endangerment, reckless driving, and manslaughter in the first degree. The Xanax bottle found in her vehicle was labeled Lola, her dog’s name. . . . more

Family thinks dog cremains not their dog’s

A Las Vegas family says they are left with lingering doubts about the cremated remains of their beloved dog after they discovered a series of suspicious signs that the remains may not be his. Brent Golden said it all started when Duke, his nine-year-old Doberman pinscher, collapsed earlier this month after dying of an apparent heart attack. After the family said their goodbyes to Duke, their veterinarian used La Paloma Funeral Services in Henderson, Nevada, for the cremation service. Exactly one week later, Golden picked up the remains, brought them home, and quickly realized there was an issue. “The first thing my wife noticed was the black fur,” said Golden. “[Duke was] brown and tan.” . . . more

NEWStat Interesting/unusual