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Protect yourself from wild hog disease

Author: USDA

Exercise caution in handling wild hogs.

Protect yourself from wild hog disease

About Wild Hogs

(Wild / Feral Pigs, Boars & Swine)

Wild hogs are the descendants of Eurasian

wild boar and released or escaped

domestic hogs. Today, more than 4 million

wild hogs are found in at least 35 states.

Wild hogs destroy farmland and crops,

compete with native wildlife for food, and

can spread disease to other animals and

people. Hunting wild hogs is a popular sport

among hunters, as well as a population

control method supported by wildlife


Wild Hogs & Disease

There are more than 24 diseases that

people can get from wild hogs. Most of

these diseases make people sick when

they eat undercooked meat.

Brucellosis is different–

The germs that cause brucellosis are

spread among hogs through birthing fluids

and semen. Infected hogs carry the germs

for life. People may get the germs through

contact with an infected hog’s blood, fluids,

or tissues (such as muscles, testicles, liver

or other organs).

You May Be At Risk For


 You can get sick if blood, fluid, or tissue

of an infected hog comes in contact with

your eyes, nose, mouth, or a skin cut.

 You and your family can get sick when

field dressing an infected hog.

 You and your family can get sick when

butchering or eating undercooked meat.

 You may start to feel sick a week to

months after coming into contact with

germs that cause brucellosis.

Brucellosis Symptoms

Fever Low appetite

Chills Fatigue

Sweating Joint pain

Headache Muscle pain

Do You Think You Have



 If you have these symptoms and are at

risk, see your doctor immediately. Blood

tests can check for brucellosis.


 Antibiotics are drugs that can kill the

germs that cause brucellosis, and

should be taken for 6 weeks or longer.

 Take all of the antibiotics as prescribed

by your doctor to prevent the illness from

coming back.

 If the illness comes back or is not

treated, you could have serious problems

in your bones, joints, or heart. Rarely,

brucellosis is fatal.

How to Protect Yourself

Safe Field Dressing

 Avoid all contact with visibly ill animals or

those found dead.

 Use clean, sharp knives for field dressing

and butchering.

 Wear eye protection and rubber or latex

gloves (disposable or reusable) when

handling carcasses.

 Avoid direct contact (bare skin) with fluid

or organs from the hog.

 Burn or bury disposable gloves and

inedible parts of the carcass after


 Wash hands as soon as possible with

soap and warm water for 20 seconds or

more and dry hands with a clean cloth.

 Clean all tools and reusable gloves used

in field dressing and butchering with a

disinfectant—such as dilute bleach.

(Read the safety instructions on the label)

Food Safety Tips

 Wash hands often with soap and warm

water for 20 seconds or more.

 Clean surfaces often with hot, soapy


 Separate raw pork from cooked pork

and other foods.

 Cook pork to an internal temperature of

160° F using a food thermometer.

 Chill raw and cooked pork promptly.

For more information on Food Safety, visit:



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