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Pig shooters helping to spread disease

by 5m Editor
22 October 2007, at 9:55am

AUSTRALIA - Recreational hunters who move feral pigs across Australia illegally may be helping to spread diseases like Japanese encephalitis and foot and mouth, says one researcher.

Evidence suggests recreational hunters are illegally transporting feral pigs across Australia to shoot them for sport. But what are the consequence for the health of humans and farm animals?

This illegal transport undermines plans to control such diseases, says Dr Peter Spencer of Murdoch University in Perth, who adds that the plans need to be improved anyway.

"There are upwards of 20 million of these [feral pigs]," says Spencer. "The disease threat from them is enormous."

Spencer says feral pigs carry diseases like Japanese encephalitis, which has already killed humans in Australia, and foot and mouth disease, which affects farm animals.

By analysing DNA samples of around 1000 feral pigs across Australia, Spencer identified several pig clans, populations that range over particular areas.

He says pigs in one clan don't naturally mix with pigs in another, which means a disease can be controlled if an infected clan is successfully wiped out.

Source: Abc.net

Further Reading

- For more information on Japanese B Encephalitis Virus (JE) click here.
- For more information on Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD)) click here.

5m Editor