Commonality of Strep Zoo Makes Tracking Origin a Challenge

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Farmscape for August 10, 2020

Full Interview 11:05 Listen

An Adjunct Professor with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine says, because Streptococcus zooepidemicus, is common in so many species, tracking the origin of a strain that’s dangerous to pigs has been challenging. Streptococcus zooepidemicus, a rare bacterial infection which results in the sudden death of pigs, was identified in Canada in March 2019 and has since been found in several U.S. states as well as in New Zealand and the Netherlands. Dr. Matheus Costa, an Adjunct Professor with the University of Saskatchewan’s Western College of Veterinary Medicine, says, because the organism is present in the microbiome of healthy as well as unhealthy pigs, differentiating pigs who could be carrying a potentially dangerous Streptococcus zooepidemicus becomes a challenge.

Clip- Dr. Matheus Costa-Western College of Veterinary Medicine:
Strep zoo is a quite interesting bacteria. It is a normal part of the microbiome in multiple species. It is a bacteria that lives in the upper respiratory tract of many different animal species and it doesn’t necessarily cause any disease. It is just part of the bacterial communities that live there and not inducing any kind of problems. That being said, it is a potential pathogen.
To give you a brief understanding, it’s name is Streptococcus zooepidemicus and zoo comes from the Greek translation of animal while epidemicus is from the Latin, to spread so we know that it is able to colonise a variety of animal species without causing disease and it’s very challenging, as you may expect, to track its origin because of that point, it is able to colonise multiple different species.

Dr. Costa says it looks like this disease flares up in pigs once they have been exposed to some kind of intense stress event, such as a long haul or a comingling of many different animals from many different sources.
He says minimising stress at any point seems to help prevent flareups of disease associated with Strep zoo.

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