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Memo to Hog Hunters: Don't Hunt While Sick (Not That You Would)

Words such as "Public Health Emergency" and "Global Pandemic" can awaken the dormant hypochondriac in the best of us. So when newspapers started using scary words to describe the swine flu yesterday, it occurred to Riptide that Florida has the second biggest wild hog population in the country. And then our throat started to tickle.

But not to worry, says Gabriella Ferraro, spokesperson for Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. She has only one piece of advice for hog hunters in the Everglades: Don't bag wild boar if your immune system is weak. "Any ill person should avoid contact with pigs," she says. "And we always recommend hunters not eat or use smoking tobacco when handling [pigs]."To date, nobody in the United States has caught the respiratory virus from contact with hogs - only from other humans.

Here The New York Times puts the outbreak in terms us Floridians can understand:"It's like declaring one for a hurricane...It means we can release funds and take other measures. The hurricane may not actually hit."


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