Streptococcus suis: a new emerging or an old neglected zoonotic pathogen?

Future Microbiol. 2010 Mar;5(3):371-91. doi: 10.2217/fmb.10.2.


Infections caused by Streptococcus suis are considered a global and an economical problem in the swine industry. Moreover, S. suis is an agent of zoonosis that afflicts people in close contact with infected pigs or pork-derived products. Although sporadic cases of S. suis infections in humans (mainly meningitis) have been reported during the last 40 years, a large outbreak due to this pathogen emerged in the summer of 2005 in China. The severity of the infection in humans during the outbreak, such as a shorter incubation time, more rapid disease progression and higher rate of mortality, attracted a lot of attention from the scientific community and the general press. In fact, the number of publications on S. suis (including the number of reported human cases) has significantly increased during recent years. In this article we critically review the present knowledge on S. suis infection in humans, we discuss the hypotheses that may explain the 2005 outbreak and the repercussion of such an episode on the scientific community.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • China / epidemiology
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / epidemiology
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / microbiology
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Humans
  • Occupational Exposure
  • Streptococcal Infections / epidemiology*
  • Streptococcal Infections / microbiology*
  • Streptococcus suis / isolation & purification*
  • Swine
  • Zoonoses / epidemiology*
  • Zoonoses / microbiology
  • Zoonoses / transmission*