According to the report of the infectious disease surveillance system of the Vietnamese Ministry of Health, in the first months of 2023, a number of cases of Streptococcus suis (S. suis) infection in humans were recorded in some provinces and cities.
The cases have been linked to consuming pig’s blood-based food.
S.suis is a disease that is transmitted from animals to humans and can be fatal. Patients often have severe clinical symptoms, require long-term treatment, have high treatment costs, and often leave irreversible complications after recovering from the disease.
In Vietnam, swine streptococcus disease was only known since 2003. In the past few years, only about 10 patients have been admitted to the National Institute of Infectious and Tropical Diseases. In the two years 2005 – 2006, there were 72 cases of S. suis infection admitted to the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City. In 2007, there were more than 48 cases (22 cases in the North, 20 cases in the South, 6 cases in the Central region) were diagnosed with swine streptococcus disease, some tests identified the causative agent as S. suis type II. Three of these cases have died. According to a study by the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City, this disease tends to occur in hot summer, 58 patients (81%) are male. The majority of patients were farmers, 38% of patients had a history of exposure to pigs or pork, however only 6 patients (8%) had suspected skin lesions. 69 patients (96%) presented with meningitis symptoms such as fever, headache, vomiting, stiff neck, impaired consciousness are common symptoms. 68% of cases of purulent meningitis have symptoms of tinnitus, deafness.
In order to actively prevent and control swine streptococcus infection to humans, on March 8, 2023, the Department of Preventive Medicine issued Official Letter No. 226/DP-DT to the Departments of Health of the provinces and cities, requesting instructions on affiliated units urgently implement a number of key contents as follows:
1. Strengthen supervision, early detection of suspected cases of swine streptococcus infection in humans, immediately implement measures to handle outbreaks; Medical examination and treatment facilities pay special attention to cases of patients with symptoms of suspected swine streptococcus infection, take epidemiological history and take samples for testing, treat patients in time to avoid death and notify the Center. Center for Disease Control to investigate and handle the outbreak.
2. Strengthen communication on measures to prevent swine streptococcal infection to humans: do not eat undercooked pig products or from sick or dead pigs, especially don’t eat pig blood soup; take labor protection measures such as wearing gloves and masks for those who raise, contact, slaughter and trade livestock.
3. Closely coordinate with veterinary authorities in monitoring and detecting diseases in pig herds that are favorable for swine streptococcus outbreak such as blue ear disease, promptly sharing information to take measures to prevent transmission to humans.
4. Prepare materials, chemicals and means to ensure the implementation of measures to monitor and handle outbreaks; review professional and technical guidelines in surveillance, diagnosis and treatment of swine streptococcal disease to strengthen the capacity of full-time staff.