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Pork Producers Encouraged to Protect Pigs From Exposure by People to Strep Zoo

An Assistant Professor with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine is encouraging pork producers to consider the introduction of protocols to ensure pigs are not exposed by staff to Streptococcus zooepidemicus.Streptococcus zooepidemicus or Strep zoo, a bacterial infection that was first identified as causing disease in pigs in 2019, can result in dramatic symptoms including sudden death and can colonise and be spread by multiple species.

Dr. Matheus Costa, an Assistant Professor with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine and an Adjunct Professor at Utrecht University, says right now we know very little about the ability of Strep zoo to jump from pigs to people and then people to pigs.

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

We know, we have evidence that it can jump from one species to the other and back so, people pigs, pigs people it goes both ways.People in general would not show up in our list of possible culprits when we had Strep zoo introduced to a barn.The thing is people have access to everything in the barn most of the time.

We know that people can carry Strep zoo and may have been implicated on spreading Strep zoo between barns so, as we learn more about it, we may have better recommendations on how to deal with this but we're still unaware of how can we prevent humans being a vector in this case?We do know that humans can carry for a very long period of time.

I've talked about weeks to perhaps months and years.It's hard to give specific directions at this point but it's important that people are aware that this is a possibility.Again, wearing protective equipment, making sure biosecurity measures are being followed such as shower in shower out, dedicated clothes, gloves, masks, all of that.

We believe all of that will help at least minimise the spread and the risk of people being the agent of introduction of Strep zoo into a herd.Dr. Costa says we're still learning about Strep zoo and its impact on different species but the fact that we're raising awareness is helping veterinarians and animals owners deal with it a bit better.

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