Brucellosis is a disease caused by infection with a type of bacteria (Brucella). This disease is common in many parts of the world, but it is rare in Australia. Brucella bacteria infect a range of animals. Brucella suis usually infect pigs. Brucella suis infection is widespread in Queensland’s feral pig population and it has also been detected in the feral pig population in northern New South Wales (NSW).
Brucella suis can be transmitted to people. Feral pigs are the usual source of infection for people, particularly when there has been contact through breaks in the skin with the tissues and body fluids of an infected pig e.g. blood, urine, uterine discharges and aborted foetuses. Uncommonly, bacteria can be inhaled and cause disease, such as in laboratory workers who work with Brucella suis cultures. The infection is very rarely transmitted from person-to-person.
Brucellosis (Brucella suis) has been detected in dogs that have been pig-hunting in northern NSW, particularly around the Moree area. Infection has also been detected in dogs that have been fed raw feral pig meat. Transmission of Brucella suis infection around the time of birth is suspected in two young dogs (with no known contact with feral pigs) diagnosed with brucellosis (Brucella suis) in NSW.