Date of this Version
EcoHealth 8, 76–81, 2011; DOI: 10.1007/s10393-011-0688-8
Despite North Carolina’s long history with feral swine, populations were low or absent in eastern counties until the 1990s. Feral swine populations have since grown in these counties which also contain a high density of commercial production swine (CPS) facilities. Sixteen of the highest swine producing U.S. counties also populated with feral swine are in North Carolina. Disconcertingly, since 2009, positive tests for exposure to swine brucellosis or pseudorabies virus have been found for feral swine. We surveyed 120 CSP facilities across four eastern counties to document the level and perception of feral swine activity around CSP facilities and to identify disease transmission potential to commercial stock. Nearly all facility operators (97%) recognized feral swine were in their counties. Far fewer said they had feral swine activity nearby (18%). Our inspections found higher presence than perceived with feral swine sign at 19% of facilities where operators said they had never observed feral swine or their sign. Nearly 90% expressed concern about feral to domestic disease transmission, yet only two facilities had grain bins or feeders fenced against wildlife access. Due to increasing feral swine populations, recent evidence of disease in feral populations, the importance of swine production to North Carolina’s economy and the national pork industry, and potential for feral-domestic contact, we believe feral swine pose an increasing disease transmission threat warranting a stringent look at biosecurity and feral swine management at North Carolina CPS facilities.