Swine Brucellosis

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is encouraging hunters to take precautions when dressing and handling harvested wild hogs.

Intrastate Movement of Feral SwineExternal Website - Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Wild hogs, though not originally native to Florida, are now found in all 67 counties. Like other wild animals, wild hogs can carry parasites and diseases, some of which can be transmitted to people. One such disease is swine brucellosis, a bacterial disease.

Hunters can be infected with brucellosis bacteria when blood, fluid or tissue from an infected animal comes in contact with their eyes, nose, mouth or skin. This can happen when:

  • Field dressing
  • Butchering
  • Handling or preparing raw meat for cooking
  • Eating meat that is not thoroughly cooked

The FWC is advising hunters handling wild hog carcasses to take the following precautions to protect themselves from exposure to this bacterial disease:

  • Avoid eating, drinking or using tobacco when field-dressing or handling carcasses.
  • Use latex or rubber gloves when handling the carcass or raw meat.
  • Avoid direct contact with blood, reproductive organs and fecal matter. Wear long sleeves and eye protection, and cover any scratches, open wounds or lesions.
  • Clean and disinfect knives, work area, all exposed surfaces and clothing when finished.
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds or more.

When cooking wild hog, as with any wild game, care in handling is an important part of disease prevention, and the meat should be cooked thoroughly to 170 degrees. Swine brucellosis is not transmitted through properly cooked meat.

Brucellosis in people is called undulant fever. Symptoms 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. If the illness is not treated or comes back, serious problems may develop in the bones, joints or heart.

Hog hunting dogs and dogs fed or exposed to raw feral swine meat or offal, are at risk for infection with swine brucellosis and could pass the disease on to people. Signs of swine brucellosis in dogs include swollen testicles, back pain, lameness and abortion, as well as fever and lethargy. Do not let hog-hunting dogs lick humans, and always wash your hands for 20 seconds or more after handling dogs. Please contact your veterinarian for further information.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Brucellosis Safety for HuntersExternal Website

Last update: December 01, 2017



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