I read part of an article (as the site only allowed you a portion of the story unless you subscribe) and it was telling about a person that show a feral hog and did not wear gloves when he dressed it. Seems he had a cut on his hand. And he ended up with some disease that some hogs can carry. From what I read, he was pretty sick. So be sure and wear gloves when you dress them. Better safe then sorry.
Outdoors: Hunters should take care in harvesting feral pigs
Keith Gallaher began feeling ill in late April, some two months after he and his two sons went hunting for feral pigs near Smithfield. Two months, one hospital stay and many tests later, he learned what ailed him wasn't the flu, as he initially thought, but Brucella suis, a bacteria that experts say could pose a threat to the state's hog industry.
"It was weird," Gallaher said. "In fact, I started to worry that people would think I was making the thing up. It hurt on my side but deep in my side. There was never a place they could push on where it hurt, but I was having this severe aching pain."
In the spring, Gallaher had read about N.C.StateUniversity scientists who discovered the bacteria in feral pigs in JohnstonCounty. It was the first time Brucella suis had been discovered in the state since testing began in 2004.
Gallaher, himself a physician, didn't think much about what he read until he began experiencing prolonged flu-like symptoms, which included fevers and a severe pain in his flank.
He spent eight days in the hospital in May, when doctors thought the illness was related to his gastrointestinal tract. He took antibiotics and felt a bit better, but the pain persisted. Finally, an MRI revealed an abscess near his spine, a symptom of Brucellosis.
Gallaher was able to take what he read about the disease and his experience as a physician to guess his diagnosis. Serology studies confirmed his suspicion, much to his relief.
"Everyone was a bit surprised," he said. "The good news is it's inherently treatable with the right antibiotics. In my case, I'll be on them for four or maybe six months."
Gallaher, 55, suspects he contracted the bacteria as he helped his sons butcher a feral pig they had killed on the February hunting trip. Although he doesn't remember it, his son and wife said he had a cut on his hand at the time. Gallaher said he didn't wear gloves while cleaning the pig.
Despite the positive outcome for Gallaher, scientists are concerned about the possibility of the bacteria spreading in the state's feral pig population and possibly into domestic pigs in the hog industry. Dr. Suzanne Kennedy-Stoskopf, a research professor of wildlife infectious diseases at N.C. State and a co-author of the paper on the study of the feral pig population, said scientists are fairly sure the bacteria was introduced into the state in 2008.
She said many hunters like to move wildlife and that's probably how the bacteria, which is common in South Carolina, got into the state. "You could argue it was only a matter of time before it crossed the state lines but this was a big jump," she said. "It had to have some assistance."
Dr. Chris DePerno, an associate professor of forestry and environmental resources at N.C. State who co-authored the paper, said hunters should use caution when field dressing and butchering feral pigs. He and Kennedy-Stoskopf advised hunters to wear gloves when coming into contact with the animals' blood. They also said the meat should be cooked well to destroy any bacteria.
DePerno said swine Brucellosis, if not controlled, could devastate the state's hog industry. "We'd probably lose our pig exports domestically and internationally within 48 hours," he said. DePerno and Kennedy-Stoskopf said free-range farms could be at risk because the hogs on those farms aren't contained as much as those in traditional hog operations. More study is needed, however, to determine the actual risk to industrial farms. "We're always looking for funding to do more work," DePerno said. "The fact that we found this should cause our pig producers in the state some level of concern."