Streptococcus suis (S. suis) infection is a notifiable infectious disease under the Prevention and Control of Disease Ordinance in Hong Kong. For the period of 2010-2014, Hong Kong health officials recorded a total of 45 sporadic cases of S. suis infection.
Ninety-three percent of the infections were contracted locally. Other cases were contracted in Macao, China and the Philippines.
According to Communicable Diseases Watch from the Hong Kong CHP:
Among all the reported cases, 29 of them had history of handling raw pork and 16 cases did not report having definite exposure to pigs or raw pork. For those who had exposure to raw pork, 10 of them recalled having skin lesion/wound while handling it. The most common manifestations included meningitis (29%), followed by sepsis (18%), and mixed meningitis and sepsis (9%). Fourteen cases (31%) had hearing impairment after the infection, and a total of three fatal cases (6%) associated with S. suis infection were recorded in 2013 (1) and 2014 (2) respectively.
Six of the cases were classified as occupational.
Human Streptococcus suis infection is a zoonotic infection associated with pigs. The infection can be fatal, particularly if the specific strain produces certain toxins. S. suis infection can manifest itself in meningitis, toxic shock, septicemia and endocarditis.
Eating undercooked infected pork and blood paste are common ways people contract the disease.
Proper cooking of pork meat or porcine organs eliminates the risk of infection with Streptococcus suis. The infection in humans is not only seen in those who consume raw pork, but also in those who slaughter and prepare the meals.
Streptococcus suis infection can be treated with appropriate antibiotics.
To prevent the disease, members of the public are advised to always practise personal and environmental hygiene. They should avoid contact with pigs that are sick or dead from diseases and their excreta or body fluid. If contact with pigs or raw pork is necessary, one should: Use protective gloves; Wash hands after handling pigs or raw pork; and Clean and cover all wounds properly.
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