Feral pigs (Sus scrofa) survive in many climates, reproduce year-round, and are dietary generalists. In the United States, the size and range of the feral pig population has expanded, resulting in greater interaction with humans and domestic swine and increased potential for disease transmission. We conducted a serosurvey in feral pigs from eastern North Carolina to determine exposure to the zoonotic parasites, Toxoplasma gondii and Trichinella spp. Between September 2007 and March 2009, blood serum was collected from 83 feral pigs harvested at Howell Woods Environmental Learning Center, Four Oaks, North Carolina, USA. We used a modified agglutination test to test for T. gondii antibodies and an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay to test for Trichinella spp. antibodies. The prevalences of antibodies to T. gondii and Trichinella spp. were 27.7% and 13.3%, respectively and 4% (n=3) had antibodies to both agents. We detected an increased risk of T. gondii antibodies with age, whereas the risk of exposure to T. gondii across years and between sexes was similar. In eastern North Carolina, feral pigs have been exposed to T. gondii and Trichinella spp. and may pose a health risk to domestic swine and humans.
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Vol. 47 • No. 2