I have an acquaintance who has contracted brucellosis, and it has recurred twice already. Brucellosis NEVER leaves the body, it just goes dormant.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is reminding hunters to take precautions when dressing and handling harvested wild hogs.
Wild hogs, though not originally native to Florida, are now found within all 67 counties, and like any wild animal, can carry parasites and other diseases - some of which can be transmitted to people. One such disease for hunters to be concerned with is swine brucellosis.
The FWC is advising hunters handling wild hog carcasses to take precautions to protect themselves from exposure to brucellosis and other diseases. For instance, avoid eating, drinking or using tobacco when field-dressing or handling carcasses, and use latex or rubber gloves when handling the carcass or raw meat. Also, avoid direct contact with blood, reproductive organs and fecal matter. Wearing long sleeves, eye protection and covering any scratches, open wounds or lesions will help provide protection. Another precaution is to clean and disinfect knives, cleaning area, clothing and any other exposed surfaces when finished, and wash hands frequently with soap and water.
When cooking wild hog, as with any wild game, care in handling is an important part of disease prevention. Raw meat should be handled with gloves and contact surfaces and utensils thoroughly cleaned. The meat should be cooked thoroughly to 170 degrees. Swine brucellosis is not transmitted through properly cooked meat.
"Hunters shouldn't be overly concerned with swine brucellosis, but they should practice these good-hygiene, safety precautions when field-dressing wild hogs," FWC wildlife veterinarian Mark Cunningham said.
Brucellosis in people is called undulant fever and could be transmitted if a hunter cuts himself while field-dressing a wild hog and is exposed to the animal's blood or bodily fluids. Symptoms may include a recurrent fever, chills, night sweats, weakness, headaches, back pain, swollen joints, loss of appetite and weight loss.
Hunters who exhibit these symptoms or may have been exposed should contact a physician. Contact your county health department for further information about swine brucellosis.
Mark Cunningham (386) 758-0525