Research Sheds New Light on Streptococcus Zooepidemicus

Farmscape for October 4, 2021

Full Interview 9:45 Listen

Research conducted by the Western College of Veterinary Medicine has shed new light on the clinical progression of Streptococcus zooepidemicus. Researchers with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine and the University of Saskatchewan in partnership with NSERC have examined the clinical progression of Streptococcus zooepidemicus, a novel bacterium that causes sudden death in pigs and can resemble African Swine Fever. Dr. Matheus Costa, an Assistant Professor with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine and an adjunct professor with Utrecht University, says researchers have found Strep zoo transmission requires direct pig to pig contact but, once infected, symptoms show up quickly.

Clip-Dr. Matheus Costa-Western College of Veterinary Medicine:
The most important findings are that Streptococcus zooepidemicus can cause disease very shortly after infecting an animal.
We have seen greater that 40 degrees Celsius fever eight hours after inoculation, so it’s very quick to invade the host, it’s very quick to break the pig’s defense barriers and cause septicemia leading to fever. We have also found that good sampling methodologies involve nasal swabs and rectal swabs. We expected mouth swabs to be good diagnostic samples as well but we did not observe that. But still, the beauty of being able to detect this bacteria from feces is that you can collect pooled samples from a group of pigs and it’s way easier and faster than collecting nasal swabs for example. Another finding is we observed that pigs that were not inoculated but were kept in the same room with inoculated pigs did not become infected during the clinical trial. It was very surprising.

Results of this work are expected to be published shortly and will be presented at upcoming Fall industry conferences, including the Western Canadian Association of Swine Veterinarians conference in October and Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium in November.

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