You may catch the flu from your sick hunting buddy, but there's no evidence that you will catch it from domestic or wild hogs, according to the Texas Animal Health Commission. There is no evidence that the new strain of H1N1 influenza is in domestic or wild hogs. This disease is being spread from person to person.
"We are prepared to test hogs, if a human/animal disease link is identified. To date, there has been no indication that swine are involved," says Bob Hillman, DVM, Texas state veterinarian and head of TAHC, the state's livestock and poultry health regulatory agency. "So far, there is no indication of animal-to-human disease spread."
"Several hunters have asked about the safety of hunting wild hogs," Hillman notes. "To repeat, there is no evidence that wild hogs are involved in this flu outbreak. Always, however, we advise wild hog hunters to protect themselves against potential exposure to swine brucellosis, a totally different disease that is not related in any way to the flu. We know from test results that about 10 percent of wild hogs carry swine brucellosis, a bacterial disease." When the wild hog meat is cooked, any swine brucellosis bacteria is destroyed by the heat.
Whenever hunters process or butcher a wild hog, they need to protect themselves against the wild hog's blood and bodily, he points out.
Trappers who catch wild hogs and owners of domestic swine also should practice good biosecurity to prevent spreading the flu to pigs. "Don't get around swine if you become ill, and avoid having visitors near your pigs," says Hillman. "Have someone else feed the animals if you become ill with flu-like symptoms." If that occurs, notify your state veterinary department so your pigs can be monitored for disease. Also, as a basic biosecurity measure, always wash your hands after handling animals.
Hillman tells wild hog trappers and domestic swine owners to call their veterinarian if their swine develop a sudden onset of respiratory illness.