The Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health recorded a sporadic case of Streptococcus suis infection on June 5 affecting a 47-year-old woman with good past health.

Hong Kong/CIA
Hong Kong/CIA

She had presented with fever, headache and dizziness since June 2. She had an episode of loss of consciousness on June 3 and was admitted to a public hospital on the same day.

Her blood collected on June 3 grew Streptococcus suis. She was treated with antibiotics and her condition remained stable.

She had a small cut by metal on her right hand and had handled raw pork at home during incubation period. Her home contacts remained asymptomatic.

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.

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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.