Tomball man contracts brucellosis from feral hogs

September 17, 2009 5:49:57 AM PDT
A Tomball man developed symptoms that turned out to have nothing to do with swine flu but everything to do with hogs. Doctors diagnosed 76-year-old James Belcher with brucellosis. Belcher picked up brucellosis from feral hogs that have rooted through parts of his property in Cherokee County.

The Houston Chronicle reported Thursday that about 10 percent of feral hogs in Texas test positive for brucellosis bacteria, but the rate in eastern parts of the state is often higher. An estimated two million of the wild creatures roam across Texas.

Belcher's brucellosis was traced to him cleaning a feral hog in March. Belcher and his son butchered one of the many feral hogs they had shot or trapped.

Belcher faces months of treatment over the bacteria-caused disease linked to feral hogs.

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