Via the Centre for Health Protection: CHP investigates critical case of Streptococcus suis infection. Excerpt:
The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (November 11) investigating a case of infection by Streptococcus suis, a kind of bacteria from pigs.
The female patient, aged 74 with underlying illnesses, presented with fever, dizziness, vomiting and pain and swelling in her right hand since November 8. She was admitted to United Christian Hospital (UCH) on the same day and was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit for further management on November 9.
The clinical diagnosis was cellulitis and sepsis. She was in critical condition.
Her blood sample was cultured positive for Streptococcus suis upon laboratory testing by UCH.
Initial enquiries revealed that the patient had prepared pig offal bought from a local market with bare hands at home on November 7. She had no recent travel history and home contacts have so far remained asymptomatic.
Streptococcus suis infection commonly presents as infection of the brain membranes (meningitis) with fever, headache and vomiting. It may also present with skin bleeding and, less commonly, infection of the blood stream (sepsis), infection of the inner layer of heart (endocarditis), arthritis and bronchiole infection (bronchopneumonia). The characteristic complication is deafness which is likely to remain permanent.
"Streptococcus suis infection is transmitted through direct contact and often related to exposure through wounds on the skin while handling infected pigs or pork. High-risk groups include pig breeders, abattoir workers, meat processing and transport workers, butchers, and cooks. Persons who are immunocompromised including those with the spleen removed and persons with diabetes, cancer and alcoholism are also at higher risk," a spokesman for the CHP said.
Strep suis turns up in China from time to time. In 2005, not long after I started this blog, I was posting about a fairly serious outbreak of "pig fever."