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Characterization of Strep Suis Expected to Lead to Improved Diagnostics and Treatment

Researchers with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine are confident characterizing the epidemiology of Streptococcus suis will lead improved diagnostics and treatment.

In an effort to improve the diagnostics and treatment of Streptococcus suis, researchers with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine have been examining the epidemiology of the infection in western Canada.

Dr. Matheus Costa, an Assistant Professor with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine and an adjunct professor with Utrecht University, says the difficulty in dealing with Strep suis is that the bacteria is so common and it doesn't always cause infection.

Clip-Dr. Matheus Costa-Western College of Veterinary Medicine:

Virtually 100 percent of the pigs have Streptococcus suis so the challenge is differentiating those that are truly affected by Streptococcus suis so where Streptococcus suis is the primary cause of disease versus where it's just an opportunistic bacterial found following some other disease.

So, the main challenge for the veterinarian and the diagnostician working on these cases is, is this Strep suis virulent or pathogenic or not? To diagnose Strep suis we often suggest that producers and vets should not be looking at the upper respiratory tract.

Submitting nasal swabs or even lung samples will not help that much because we know we will find Streptococcus suis in those samples.

It's more about finding Streptococcus in organs that should not have that.That includes internal organs such as spleen, liver, joints for example.Definitely refer to your herd veterinarian if you feel there is an issue with Strep suis.

Treatment ranges from anti-inflammatories in acute cases such as meningitis to reduce inflammation in the brain and hopefully help the animal regain consciousness and antibiotics to detain the infection from further development.

Dr. Costa suggests improved diagnostics and treatment will reduce production losses, improve animal health and increase the efficiency of antimicrobial use.

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