Reduced Stress Offers Defense Against Streptococcus Zooepidemicus

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Farmscape for July 7, 2020

Full Interview 11:04 Listen

A scientist with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine says minimising stress appears to reduce the risks associated with exposure to Streptococcus zooepidemicus. Streptococcus zooepidemicus, a 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. Because the organism is present in the microbiome of healthy pigs, differentiating pigs who could be carrying a potentially dangerous Streptococcus zooepidemicus becomes a challenge. Dr. Matheus Costa, an Adjunct Professor with the University of Saskatchewan’s Western College of Veterinary Medicine, says although the infection is rare it is showing up world wide.

Clip-Dr. Matheus Costa-Western College of Veterinary Medicine:
In the 1970s Strep zoo seemed to be a problem in pigs in southeast Asia. Since then we haven’t heard anything else. Interestingly, it looks like in August 2018, New Zealand had cases that were very similar to what we saw in Canada. March 2019, we started seeing similar things in western Canada and immediately after that, by September, 2019 and December, 2019 we saw multiple cases in the U.S. Ohio, Tennessee, Pennsylvanian, it seemed to have spread all over there. In October 2019 a very similar presentation was also reported in the Netherlands.
That being said, we have not heard anything else about Strep zoo in any other country within Europe. So it’s definitely there and maybe we’re not just looking for it actively but, in the past few years, there are definitely reports of Strep zoo causing problems all across the globe.

Dr. Costa says it looks like this disease flares up once pigs have been exposed to some kind of intense stress event, such as a long haul or even 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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