Thursday, January 27, 2011

Texas Tech researchers find harmful bacteria in feral hogs

Hunters and ranchers are urged to be careful handling wild hogs after two groups of feral swine — one from the Panhandle, the other from Central Texas — tested positive for harmful bacteria. The Institute of Environmental and Human Health (TIEHH) at Texas Tech University made the warning on Wednesday Jan. 25. The bacteria, Francisella tularensis, can cause the tularemia, a potentially fatal disease for humans. A team of researchers from Tech tested about 130 feral hogs from Crosby County in the Panhandle and Bell and Coryell counties in Central Texas. Of the animals tested, 50 percent of the Crosby County pigs and 15 percent of the central Texas pigs showed evidence of current or past infection with the bacteria. Tularemia is commonly called “rabbit fever.” Rodents and wild game animals as well as mosquitoes, deer flies and ticks, can carry it. Most human infections become apparent after three to five days, and signs include fever, lethargy, anorexia and signs of septicemia. Lesions can form on the skin where infections start. It also can enter the body if infected body fluids come in contact with the eyes, nose or mouth. In some cases, the bacteria become easily airborne and can be inhaled...more

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