On December 17, 2014, the Hong Kong CHP recorded a case of Streptococcus suis infection affecting a 79-year-old woman with underlying illnesses. She presented with joint pain, abdominal pain and vomiting since December 7. She was admitted to a public hospital on December 10. Blood culture taken on December 11 grew Streptococcus suis. She was treated with intravenous antibiotics.

Pig and piglets
Pig and piglets/Agricultural Research Services

Her condition was stable. She had handled raw pork for cooking at home. She had no recent travel history and her home contact was 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.

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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