By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

The Thailand Bureau of Epidemiology, Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health reported 340 Streptococcus suis cases through Dec. 22, 2020.

Image/Scott Bauer, U.S. Department of Agriculture

In addition, 12 fatalities were reported.

This is down from the 377 cases and 29 deaths recorded in 2019.

The provinces with the highest incidence include Uttaradit, Phichit, Phayao, Kamphaeng Phet and Lampang.

Streptococcus suis infection tends to occur sporadically especially in the high risk regions due to a risky behavior of eating local favorite food, i.e. raw pork with fresh blood (Lahp-moo) and close contact with pigs with no proper personal protection.

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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, hearing impairment, toxic shock, septicemia and endocarditis.

It can be contracted either through ingesting raw pork or if it comes in contact with an open wound or mucous membrane.

To prevent the disease, members of the public are advised to always practice 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.