New Strep Zoo Vaccine Expected to Displace Antibiotics

Farmscape for April 12, 2023

Full Interview 12:06 Listen

A new vaccine developed to protect pigs from Streptococcus equii zooepidemicus is expected to allow pork producers to avoid the need to treat the infection with antibiotics. Researchers with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine have developed and are ready to commercialise a new vaccine to protect pigs from Streptococcus equii zooepidemicus, or Strep zoo, a bacterial disease that produces symptoms similar to Streptococcus suis and African Swine Fever and can cause sudden death with little or no warning. Dr. Matheus Costa, an Assistant Professor with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine and an Adjunct Professor at Utrecht University, says so far the vaccine has prevented 100 percent of the mortality associated with the virulent strain of Strep zoo.

Clip-Dr. Matheus Costa-Western College of Veterinary Medicine:
Because it’s such an impactful disease and leads to high mortality rates, there’s nothing we can do to prevent that other than using antimicrobials. I think it’s probably clear in everyone’s mind by now that, if we keep using antimicrobials, you will induce resistance and that’s exactly what we’ve seen in the field. Over a very short period of time, and I’m talking about a matter of weeks we have seen Streptococcus equii zooepidemicus become resistant to most of our options in swine medicine and once they become fully resistant to those antimicrobials there’s not much we can do as veterinarians and producers to prevent those animals from dying. It’s challenging from that perspective that we don’t have a lot of tools to deal with the outbreak and it’s also challenging because we don’t understand enough about the bacteria to be able to completely clear it from the herd. So, this is where a vaccine would be very interesting.

Dr. Costa says researchers are now working to bring the new vaccine to market with the goal of making it available to producers and veterinarians as quickly as possible.

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