Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Feral Pigs Can Carry Nasty Bacteria That Can Be Transmitted to People



ScienceDaily (Apr. 11, 2012) — A North Carolina State University study shows that, for the first time since testing began several years ago, feral pigs in North Carolina have tested positive for Brucella suis, an important and harmful bacteria that can be transmitted to people.

The bacteria are transmitted to humans by unsafe butchering and consumption of undercooked meat. Clinical signs of brucellosis, the disease caused by the bacteria, in people are fairly non-specific and include persistent flu-like symptoms. The bacteria can also spread in pig populations, causing abortions in affected swine.

In a study conducted to test N.C. feral pig populations for several types of bacteria and viruses, about 9 percent of feral pigs studied in Johnston County and less than 1 percent of feral pigs surveyed randomly at 13 other sites across the state showed exposure to B. suis.

Dr. Chris DePerno, associate professor of forestry and environmental resources at NC State and the corresponding author of a paper describing the research, says the results are troubling for people who hunt feral pigs for sport or food.

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