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Health Concerns

Aside from the obvious physical damage caused by wild pigs, these animals can also pose a threat in other ways. This threat comes in the form of disease. While there are multiple diseases and parasites that are limited to pigs, there are several that are carried by wild hogs that can be contracted by humans, livestock, and other wild animals. A major concern is foreign animal diseases (FAD): those that have never been in North America or those that were present at one time but have been eradicated during the last 100 years.

Zoonotic Diseases

A zoonotic disease is an animal borne disease that can be contracted by humans. Infection occurs through contact with infected bodily fluids and ingesting improperly prepared meat or improper handling of infected tissues. Zoonotic diseases may also be transmitted through contaminated water supplies or through tick bites. Of the wide array of diseases that are carried by wild pigs those that can be contracted by humans include:

Animal/Livestock Transmitted Diseases

A major concern in the livestock industry is the risk of diseases spreading from wild pigs to livestock. While there are several diseases that are swine specific there are others that can be contracted by both livestock and wildlife species. Transmission of these diseases occurs via contamination of water sources, contamination of feed troughs, and direct contact with infected animals. Diseases that can be contracted by livestock include:

  • Brucellosis
  • Pseudorabies virus
  • Bovine Tuberculosis
  • Classical Swine Fever
  • Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV)
  • Foot and Mouth Disease
  • African Swine Fever
  • Foreign Animal Disease (FAD)

Disease Prevention

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Follow these simple measures to avoid infection when handling or field dressing wild pigs:

    • Wear latex or nitrile gloves; pathogens can enter the body through cuts on hands or torn cuticles.
    • Avoid splashing body fluids into your eyes or mouth.
    • Wash your hands thoroughly after field dressing and processing meat, even if you wear gloves.
    • Thoroughly clean and disinfect work areas and tools used to dress and butcher wild pigs.
    • Dispose of animal remains, used gloves, and other materials properly. Animal remains should not be left for scavengers, nor should they be fed to dogs. Depending upon your jurisdiction, several methods of appropriate disposal may be considered. Check with your local health department or state wildlife agency.
    • Follow correct refrigeration, freezing, and cooking methods. Freezing to 0°F will render bacteria inactive but will not destroy them; once thawed, bacteria can again become active. Also, do not rely on home freezing to destroy Trichina and other parasites. Thorough cooking will destroy all parasites and kill bacteria. Cook wild pork to an internal temperature of 165°F to 170°F.
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