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Study Shows First N.C. Case of Feral Pig Exposure to Nasty Bacteria

A North Carolina State University study shows that, for the first time since testing began several years ago, feral pigs in North Carolina have tested positive for Brucella suis, an important and harmful bacteria that can be transmitted to people.

The bacteria are transmitted to humans by unsafe butchering and consumption of undercooked meat. Clinical signs of brucellosis, the disease caused by the bacteria, in people are fairly non-specific and include persistent flu-like symptoms. The bacteria can also spread in pig populations, causing abortions in affected swine.

Kennedy-Stoskopf says that B.suis can be transmitted among pig populations when pigs ingest infected tissue or fluids. Direct contact with infected pigs or ingestion of contaminated food and water could cause currently uninfected pig populations to become infected.

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