CDC: Feral Hogs may pose Health Risk to Hunters

Hunting feral hogs is big business here in Texas. Just one hunt, one in which you bag a single hog, can run you upwards of $500 (not including food, ammo, rifle…). They’re terrible animals, causing millions of dollars of damage every year, and lessening their numbers is just one benefit of taking down these delicious creatures. But according to the Centers for Disease Control, these hogs might be posing a risk to hunters above and beyond the regular traumatic variety . . .

From the CDC:

Brucellosis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria.

People can get the disease when they are in contact with infected animals or animal products contaminated with the bacteria.

If you are a hunter of particular wild animals, you may face an increased risk of brucellosis. This is because hunters are often exposed to the blood and organs of the animals they are hunting.

For those who slept through microbiology, Brucellosis is a gram negative bacteria (meaning that traditional antibiotics are less effective) that causes profuse sweating and muscle pain in humans, symptoms which can persist for your entire life. It can be treated with a lengthy course of modern antibiotics like Gentamicin, but it sucks while you have it.

According to the CDC, the risk of infection is highest when handling blood and organs of wild animals, specifically feral hogs. Transmission appears to be most effective during a blood – to – blood contact (bloody pig parts to open cuts) but anywhere wet on you body is a prime location for transmission.

How can hunters protect themselves from the bacterial threat? Say it with me: body substance isolation.

EMTs get it drilled into their heads from day one that anytime you’re going to touch someone, you’d better have gloves on. Which is why I have a box of non-latex gloves in my trunk at all times. Even with non-human patients, the golden rule of BSI will keep you safe. The CDC agrees, too.

So remember, when you go to butcher that hog, grab the gloves first.

[h/t Hillary — check out her Infectious Disease blog]


  1. avatar Tommy Knocker says:

    This is the same CDC that says guns are bad for you. So no waterfowl cause of pesticides. No deer cause of CWD. No stream fish cause of whirling disease. No ocean fish cause of mercury. Getting the picture here? That the CDC has a radical left wing anti-hunting anti-gun agenda.

  2. avatar Mike says:

    The CDC may or may not be all those things, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get brucellosis from a feral hog if you’re not careful.

    1. avatar Edgehill says:


      A guy in my office was out of work for weeks after an incident with a feral hog he had harvested. He had long gloves on, but didn’t realize that he had a small cut right above the glove that some blood got in.

      Bad stuff.

  3. avatar m.ia says:

    Why does it cost money to hunt something that is destructive and people want gone? It just baffles me. They should be shoot on sight with no rules on hunting them. Except maybe a hunting licence. Its an invasive species for gods sake! Just kill them for free!

    1. avatar Don says:

      Very often a helicopter is involved, and nearly always a guide is required. Things that fly and another human’s time are things that have to be paid for.

    2. avatar LTC F says:

      Texas, for all the things I love about it, has one really strange quirk. It is almost impossible to hunt without paying for it. There is very little public land that you can hunt on. Unless you own some land where the deer and the antelope (and I guess the feral hogs) play, you have to pay for a lease on someone else’s land. I’m lucky enough to have some friends who will let me hunt on their land, but I know folks who spend over a grand a year on a deer lease.
      Some ranchers are to the point that they’ll let you shoot all the hogs you want for free, but most folks end up paying to hunt, even hogs.

      1. avatar Paul W says:

        It drives me apeshit personally. I want to hunt hogs but I’m not paying someone 400+ dollars to do it (which is the going rate around here).

      2. avatar speedracer5050 says:

        And that is the main reason I rarely hunted when I was stationed at Ft. Hood!! It was ridiculous expensive to hunt around there.
        The feral hog problem in Tx has been that way for quite awhile but landowners still want an assload of money to let you hunt hogs, and don’t even ask a lot of them if you can hunt the land by yourself!!!

        1. avatar David W. says:

          In Ohio the DNR just says shoot them on sight if you can safely…

        2. avatar tdiinva says:

          Virginia just opened up on hogs this year. I haven’t heard of them in upper part of the state yet.

  4. avatar RKflorida says:

    2 reasons for the gloves.
    1. Disease
    2. I don’t like touching gooey stuff.

  5. avatar Aharon says:

    “I have a box of non-latex gloves in my trunk”

    Why non-latex and not latex gloves? That prior sentence reads funny.

    1. avatar AmbulanceMonkee says:

      There are lots of people out there with latex allergies. Most EMS organizations no longer stock latex gloves. Nitrile gloves have improved to the point that they are as wearable as latex. A box of non-latex gloves is easier to obtain than latex.

      1. avatar Aharon says:

        Thank you.

        1. avatar Ralph says:

          Aharon, I’ve used both types of gloves and for me, the non-latex variety is just much more comfortable to wear. They’re so comfortable that you’re apt to forget that you have them on. And I’m not allergic to latex.

        2. avatar sanchanim says:

          If you are only handling the dead, animals or humans it doesn’t matter what you use. Since Nick here handles alive and dead he goes with non latex, since well latex allergies suck.
          That being said nice article Nick. Really it is common sense. But of course many folks out there lack that..

  6. avatar jim says:

    Kind of interesting to look at the roots of the feral-hog epidemic, which is huge here in Southeast Texas. Just good ol’ corporate greed, at least from the point of view of a farm activist and early-80s Farm Crisis refugee. When I was a kid in the Midwest (in the 70s) pretty much every farmer had a 40-acre field with stout fences where they ran small herds of those “humane husbandry/ free range” hogs so beloved now by upscale foodies. With the growth of corporate agriculture and those good ol’ boys Vertical Integration and Market Consolidation the agricorps manipulated the market to the point where the live cost of a hog (which took about 50 cents a pound to get to market weight) dropped to about 8 cents/ lb. Thousands of small farmers went under and in the chaos the hogs got loose and went down into the bottoms, where they breed like crazy. And the family-farm hog grower became as rare as the ivory-billed woodpecker, while 1000-hog per acre factory “farms” became the norm, as did massive water table contamination issues from manure-containment ponds. Ah, but ain’t that tasteless, antibiotic-laden pork nice and cheap, and instead of going out and finding a farmer all you have to do is go to WalMart. Needless to say, I’ve been on a Paula Dean boycott ever since she started shilling for Smithfield, which as a world-wide corporation with absolutely no ethics beyond pumping up the next quarter’s profits, could teach BP a thing or two about how to corrupt government officials (even if you turn the beautiful blue Danube into a sewage lagoon every good rain) and how to pollute water on a massive scale.

    1. avatar g says:


      Then again, I’m a farmer’s market kind of guy, and I like to meet people who know/grow the food rather than head down to WallyWorld to just save 30 cents and eat crap.

    2. avatar Ralph says:

      So let me get this straight: big corporations are to blame for small farmers polluting the world with their hogs.

      Personal responsibility just took another hit.

      1. avatar jim says:

        No, Ralph, it’s the corporate containment facilities (which are economically unrealistic and can survive only by massive subsidies and tax breaks purchased with “campaign contributions” which are also known as “bribes”) which are responsible for the massive manure lagoons and inevitable contamination. This happens in all kinds of meat farming – a 30-steer finishing lot on a farm (like my dad had) is something nature can handle during the few months a year it is in operation. A 10,000 head feedlot that operates year round is more poop than there is a solution for. And when it comes to poultry (cool as 29-cent leg quarters are when planning a budget barbecue) you don’t want your well to share a water table with a Pilgrims or Tyson poultry operation. Saying this as a cook and eater – the free-range and humane husbandry stuff just flat tastes better, no matter how cheap the alternative is.

  7. avatar bobo says:

    Leave ’em where they lay…wolves and buzzards have to eat too!

    You’re killing a pest – if you want bacon, well – that’s why there’s a grocery store.

    1. avatar tdiinva says:


      Wild pork is parasite city. If you don’t cook it just right you are a candidate for trichina and tapeworm.

      1. avatar sanchanim says:

        Well depending on the cut, you will cook it well, and or smoke it etc.
        I think flash freezing also solves a lot of issues as well.

        1. avatar tdiinva says:

          Ate a lot pork when you were in IDF?

  8. avatar Agitator says:

    BSI for my buddy and I

  9. avatar Buuurr says:

    I would like to point out that this information pretty much goes for anything done here on planet Earth. Thanks, CDC! I’ll go wash my hands now.

  10. avatar fred says:

    thx nick good info. carry two kinds of gloves in hydration pack. camo for going thru poison oak and long nitrile for field butchering.

  11. avatar Charlie says:

    Brucellosis _*AND*_ swine kidney worm, lungworms, roundworms, hookworms, various stomach worms, pseudorabies virus and leptospira. Weird, but Trichanella spiralis appears not to be one of the things you have to worry about.


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