Streptococcus pyogenes Infection in a Free-Living European Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus)

Lydia H.V. Franklinos*, Androulla Efstratiou, Shaheed K. Macgregor, Shinto K. John, Timothy Hopkins, Andrew A. Cunningham, Becki Lawson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Streptococcus pyogenes, a common pathogen of humans, was isolated from the carcass of a free-living European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) found in northern England in June 2014. The animal had abscessation of the deep right cervical lymph node, mesenteric lymph nodes and liver. The S. pyogenes strain isolated from the lesions, peritoneal and pleural cavities was characterised as emm 28, which can be associated with invasive disease in humans. This is the first known report of S. pyogenes in a hedgehog and in any free-living wild animal that has been confirmed by gene sequencing. As close associations between wild hedgehogs and people in England are common, we hypothesise that this case might have resulted from anthroponotic infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)689-692
Number of pages4
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the member of the public who reported and submitted the hedgehog carcass and colleagues at Abbey Veterinary Services. This work was financed by the Institute of Zoology, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare and by Defra through the Animal Plant & Health Agency’s Diseases of Wildlife Scheme (Project ED1600) within their Scanning Surveillance Programme and project WC1027 from the Strategic Evidence Fund.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, International Association for Ecology and Health.


  • European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus)
  • Streptococcus pyogenes
  • anthroponosis
  • anthroponotic
  • reverse zoonosis


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