Hong Kong DoH Investigates Streptococcus Suis Infection Case

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The Centre for Health Protection of Hong Kong the Department of Health is investigating a case of laboratory confirmed infection of Streptococcus suis, a kind of bacteria isolated from pigs.

The case involved an 81-year-old woman living alone in Kowloon City. She developed cough with sputum and fever on September 25. She was admitted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital on September 27 and is now in stable condition.

A CHP spokesman said she had no travel history recently.

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This is the fifth reported case of Streptococcus suis infection in 2008. A total of six, eight and 13 cases were reported in 2007, 2006 and 2005 respectively.

The spokesman said Streptococcus suis infection may present as meningitis (inflammation of the membrane enclosing the brain), septicaemia (blood stream infection), and less commonly endocarditis (inflammation of the inner lining of the heart chambers), arthritis and bronchopneumonia (a kind of lung infection involving the bronchioles). Streptococcus suis infection could be treated with appropriate antibiotics.

To prevent the disease, members of the public are advised to always observe personal and environmental hygiene practices and 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.

Members of the public with suspected symptoms should consult their doctors as soon as possible and report their relevant exposure histories.

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