Feral pigs found to have Leptospirosis in Western NSW

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Western NSW landholders are being warned to be vigilant after a serious disease was found in nine feral pigs following routine blood testing.

Western Magazine reported 10 feral pigs were captured in the western region toward the end of last year, routine blood testing was carried out which revealed nine of the pigs were positive for Leptospirosis Pomona (also known as a zoonotic disease). 

Spreading can also occur by contact with water or soil infected with animal urine. 

Human Symptoms

In humans, Leptospirosis can cause a wide range of symptoms, including:

  • High fever
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches
  • Vomiting
  • Jaundice (yellow skin and eyes)
  • Red eyes
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Rash
Many of these symptoms can be mistaken for other diseases. In addition, some infected persons may have no symptoms at all.

The time between a person’s exposure to a contaminated source and becoming sick is 2 days to 4 weeks. Illness usually begins abruptly with fever and other symptoms. Leptospirosis may occur in two phases: 

  • After the first phase (with fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, vomiting, or diarrhea) the patient may recover for a time but become ill again.
  • If a second phase occurs, it is more severe; the person may have kidney or liver failure or meningitis.

The illness lasts from a few days to 3 weeks or longer. Without treatment, recovery may take several months.

Western Local Land Services District Veterinarian, Felicity Wills encouraged landholders to always use caution when handling feral pigs, other pest animals and livestock. 

“The fact nine out of 10 pigs were found to be positive for Leptospirosis Pomona should serve as a warning for all landholders,” Dr Wills said. 

“It is something that can be very serious for anyone affected so caution should always be taken when around and handling pest animals or your own livestock. 

“One control can be wearing gloves when in contact with body fluids and ensuring those fluids don’t come into contact with any other parts of your body.”

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