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Humans Capable of Infecting Pigs with Streptococcus zooepidemicus

An assistant professor with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine warns, humans harboring the bacteria that causes Streptococcus zooepidemicus could trigger an outbreak in pigs.

Streptococcus zooepidemicus, a newly emerged infection in pigs that results in dramatic symptoms, including sudden death, was the focus of a Swine Health Information Center and American Association of Swine Veterinarians webinar last week.

Dr. Matheus Costa, an Assistant Professor with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine and an Adjunct Professor at Utrecht University, says researchers assessed staff who worked in Strep zoo positive barns to determine whether humans are capable of carrying the infection.

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

There was barn staff that were extensively exposed to infected animals and all of the secretions coming out of them during an initial Strep zoo outbreak several years ago.

An individual transited to three different sites over three years and unsurprisingly all three sites that this individual went to actually broke with Streptococcus zooepidemicus.

We don't know if this person was colonized before the initial break or during the initial break but this person definitely remained positive for Strep zoo for at least three years.

This is not news though.

We know Strep zoo is around and we know Strep zoo can jump to humans.

That has been reported multiple times, particularly associated those working closely horses or ponies.
It's not news that animals can give humans Strep zoo.

What we learned here though is that there was a cycle where animals likely gave humans Strep zoo and the humans gave animals Strep zoo back.
This cycle was unique.

As you all know we have zoonotic diseases, so those are going across kingdoms here from animals to humans but what we are seeing here is a case of amphixenosis.

These are diseases that can go both ways.

They can jump from humans to animals and animals to humans.
It doesn't go only in one direction.

It's bidirectional.
Strep zoo is a very unique situation where we have an amphixenosis and humans could be part of the problem.

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