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Streptococcus zooepidemicus Identified as Important Agent to be Addressed

A researcher with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine suggests the eradication of Streptococcus zooepidemicus needs to be a priority.Streptococcus zooepidemicus or Strep zoo is a bacterial infection that was first identified as causing disease in pigs in 2019.

Dr. Matheus Costa, an Assistant Professor with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine and an Adjunct Professor at Utrecht University, says Strep zoo is not very infectious, requiring nose to nose animal contact to spread but, once a barn has become infected, it is extremely difficult to eliminate.

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

This is not a flying bacteria so it needs that vector to bring Strep zoo into contact with a susceptible animal.The animal health implications are very severe so the economic implications are tremendous.Most of the outbreaks we have seen in Canada affect sow barns.

We see sows dying and lots of sows dying so the economic impact of any sow barn losing a large proportion of sows, I'm talking about 20, sometimes 30 to 50 sows a week.Imagine each sow costing around 17 to 18 hundred dollars, that's a big implication.

On top of that, we also have reports of farms in Canada where market age hogs were affected and that is disastrous.If you've seen market age hogs dying within a 12-hour period and I'm taking about barns losing 50 to 80 hogs a day due to this infection.

When you're dealing with that many deaths, it's not just a big economic impact, it's also a very big mental health impact on the staff dealing with that many losses and also dealing with those carcasses and disposal.It's a very complicated situation.

Dr. Costa notes the infection is not widespread in North America yet but the U.S. based Swine Health Information Center recently added Streptococcus zooepidemicus to its list of the most important agents that should be focussed on, in the number two spot behind Streptococcus suis and suggests it should be on people's radar.

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