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S. suis infection may be a considerable, unrecognized burden in large parts of Southeast Asia

Streptococcus suis infection is a zoonosis which can cause severe systemic infection in humans exposed to infected pig tissue. To date there have been relatively few reports of S. suis infection in humans, with around 700 cases reported worldwide, most of them in the last few years. In developed countries most cases are described in people with occupational exposure to pigs, such as pig farmers and abattoir workers.

In developing countries with intense pig farming, like those in Southeast Asia, the risk of acquiring S. suis infection is unknown as it is not a notifiable disease and under diagnosis is common. However the two largest published case series are from this region and together account for more than 50% of all reported cases. It is therefore possible that S. suis infection is a considerable, unrecognized burden in large parts of Southeast Asia.

Published in PLoS One, the authors conclude S. suis was commonly diagnosed as a cause of bacterial meningitis in adults in northern Viet Nam. In countries where there is intense and widespread exposure of humans to pigs, S. suis can be an important human pathogen.

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