The cool morning air reminds us that it is hunting season in Louisiana and in many parts of the South. While out in the woods, hunters will come in contact with many interesting creatures, and while the interesting sights can be truly amazing, an article in the Baton Rouge’s The Advocate, reminds us that there are unsuspecting dangers lurking in the woods.
Recently, Louisiana has experienced a series problems associated with feral pigs. These pigs use their tusks to tear up fields looking for something to eat. They can be devastating to a farmer’s crops. Interestingly enough, these feral swine also carry a bacterium which is a form of foodborne illness. Although different from E. coli or Salmonella, the bacteria called “Brucella” is carried by some feral pigs can make an individual very sick.
Brucellosis, is the foodborne illness associated with the Brucella bacteria. In addition to contaminated food or water, Brucella bacteria can be transmitted to a human host if a person drinks milk produced from a sick cow, sheep, goat, or even camel. Brucella bacteria can also be inhaled, and like botulism and vibrio, can enter an open wound leading to a different form of infection.
Brucellosis causes a flu-like condition. Symptoms that can develop are fever, sweats, headaches, back pains, and physical weakness. According to the CDC, “Severe infections of the central nervous systems or lining of the heart may occur. Brucellosis can also cause long-lasting or chronic symptoms that include recurrent fevers, joint pain, and fatigue.”