The National Feral Pig Action Plan
Feral pigs can introduce, reintroduce and maintain endemic, emerging animal diseases (EAD’s) that can affect livestock, wildlife, plants and humans. Feral pigs can harbour and transmit over 30 exotic, endemic and zoonotic pathogens of significance as well as over 30 different types of parasites.
If you notice any unusual clinical signs in domestic or feral animals, that you think could be an emergency animal disease, report it immediately to the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888 or to your local veterinarian.
Emergency Animal Diseases (EAD's)
- foreign (exotic) diseases, e.g. foot-and-mouth disease (FMD)
- diseases that emerge within Australia, e.g. Hendra virus
- diseases that occur sporadically in Australia, but occasionally occur as a serious epidemic, e.g. anthrax.
Disease risks from swill feeding
Feral pigs are more likely to contract an exotic disease, including FMD and ASF, by eating uncooked food scraps or food waste that contains meat or which has been in contact with meat. This is known as swill feeding. It is illegal in all states and territories in Australia to feed meat and meat products to any type of pig including feral pigs.
A new factsheet on swill feeding and feral pigs has been developed – click here.
For more information on swill feeding/prohibited pig feed, visit the Animal Health Australia website.
African swine fever (ASF)
Australia is free from African swine fever.
African swine fever is an infectious viral disease of domestic and feral pigs. People cannot be infected. African swine fever can result in a very high mortality rate in infected pigs and no vaccine or treatment is available. If it were introduced to Australia, African swine fever would significantly impact pig health and production.
For more information, visit these website and resources
State and Commonwealth resources
- African swine fever general information (pdf)
- African swine fever information for feral pig hunters (pdf)
- African swine fever swill feeding (pdf)
This course is relevant to anyone who observes or interacts with feral pigs as part of their work or recreational activities and consists of three modules:
- Preventing the introduction of ASF into Australia
- Preventing pigs from becoming infected with ASF
- Recognising and reporting clinical signs of ASF in pigs
Foot and mouth disease (FMD) updates
This page and our FMD factsheet will be continuously refreshed as we get more details to give you the most relevant, up-to-date information.
FMD is an acute, highly contagious viral disease that affects cloven hooved wild and domestic animals, including cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, camels, and deer.
Australia is free from FMD.
In May 2022, FMD was confirmed in Indonesia. It is currently found in many parts of the world, including Africa, the Middle East, Asia and South America.
Contact the national Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888 to report any animals behaving abnormally, or with clinical signs of FMD.
Ward, M.P., Garner, M.G. and Cowled, B.D. (2015) Modelling foot-and-mouth disease transmission in a wild pig-domestic cattle ecosystem. Australian Veterinary Journal. 93(1-2); 4-12. doi: 10.1111/avj.12278
Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV) updates
The most recent outbreak of Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) was first identified in domestic pigs and humans in Australia in March 2022. JEV is a mosquito-borne viral disease that can cause reproductive losses and encephalitis in susceptible species. It is a nationally notifiable disease in both humans and animals and was declared a Communicable Disease Incident of National Significance by the Australian Government Department of Health in March 2022.
On 16 June 2023, the Chief Medical Officer stood down Australia’s CDINS declaration for Japanese encephalitis virus. States and territories will continue to manage the risk of JEV in line with local arrangements. JEV is still classified as a notifiable disease.
JEV was positively identified in feral pigs in the NT (55+), Vic (3), SA (7), WA (2) and a small number of feral pigs in Cape York Peninsula, QLD, and in an alpaca in SA.
In the 2021/22 season, SA reported 3 JEV positive sentinel chickens from 2 flocks. In 2023, prior exposure to JEV was also detected in WA in sentinel chickens across 3 flocks in the Kimberley region and 1 flock in the Pilbara.
More details are available in our factsheet below.
It is important to note that both feral and domestic pigs can amplify the virus which can then be transmitted by infected mosquitos to humans from pigs.
Anyone experiencing JEV symptoms should seek urgent medical attention.
If you see any feral pigs behaving abnormally or with symptoms of JEV, contact your local veterinarian or call the national Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888 to report it.
Parasites of feral pigs
Feral pigs can harbour and transmit many different types of parasites of concern to humans, livestock, and companion animals.
Not much is known about the presence and impacts of these parasites in feral pigs in Australia and the hidden costs they may incur.
A booklet has been developed to summarise some of the most important and common parasites of feral pigs.
Read the booklet here.