The office of the Missouri State Public Health Veterinarian was recently contacted by the Illinois
Department of Public Health (IDPH) regarding several Illinois residents that had killed and/or consumed meat from feral hogs taken in Crawford County Missouri. The hog hunters or those that ate some of the meat of the feral hogs killed were confirmed to having contracted trichinellosis from feral hog meat.
During a two-day hunt in January three hogs and several deer were killed. The IDPH reported that 7 to 9 people acquired trichinellosis from eating sausage made from the feral hogs taken during the hunt.
Trichinellosis is acquired by consuming meat containing the larvae of any one of several species of
Trichinella nematode. The most common species of this roundworm is Trichinella spiralis, which has a
world-wide distribution and is highly linked to hogs.
Symptoms of trichinellosis include abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea, facial swelling, fever, sore
muscles, and general muscle weakness. Treatment of trichinellosis while symptoms are only intestinal
usually consists of administering albendazole or some similar wormer. If trichinellosis is allowed to go
untreated to the point muscle pain and weakness is present and muscular cysts develop, there is no
treatment other than pain medicine to alleviate discomfort.
Feral hogs are known to carry as many as 32 diseases or disease vectors, several of which can infect humans, wildlife and livestock. Because of this potential threat, the Missouri Department of Conservation routinely collects blood samples of feral hogs removed by any of their personnel. These samples are taken in an effort to document and track incidences of various diseases.
Any person involved in the field dressing, butchering, processing, or other such activity associated with
feral hogs should always take safety precautions such as wearing quality latex gloves and eye protection. Any meat from feral hogs should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure inactivation of any Trichinella larvae it may contain.
If you have information regarding anyone engaged in the illegal act of releasing hogs in Missouri, please report it to your local conservation agent or through Operation Game Thief at (573) 392-1111. Pulaski County Conservation Agent Casey Simmons can be reached directly at (573) 528-2147.