[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An outbreak of Streptococcus suis serotype 2 emerged in the summer of 2005 in Sichuan Province, and sporadic infections occurred in 4 additional provinces of China. In total, 99 S. suis strains were isolated and analyzed in this study: 88 isolates from human patients and 11 from diseased pigs. We defined 98 of 99 isolates as pulse type I by using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis analysis of SmaI-digested chromosomal DNA. Furthermore, multilocus sequence typing classified 97 of 98 members of the pulse type I in the same sequence type (ST), ST-7. Isolates of ST-7 were more toxic to peripheral blood mononuclear cells than ST-1 strains. S. suis ST-7, the causative agent, was a single-locus variant of ST-1 with increased virulence. These findings strongly suggest that ST-7 is an emerging, highly virulent S. suis clone that caused the largest S. suis outbreak ever described.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: From mid-July to the end of August 2005, a total of 215 cases of human Streptococcus suis infections, 66 of which were laboratory confirmed, were reported in Sichuan, China. All infections occurred in backyard farmers who were directly exposed to infection during the slaughtering process of pigs that had died of unknown causes or been killed for food because they were ill. Sixty-one (28%) of the farmers had streptococcal toxic shock syndrome; 38 (62%) of them died. The other illnesses reported were sepsis (24%) and meningitis (48%) or both. All isolates tested positive for genes for tuf, species-specific 16S rRNA, cps2J, mrp, ef, and sly. A single strain of S. suis caused the outbreak, as shown by the identification of a single ribotype. The high death ratio was of concern; prohibiting backyard slaughtering ended the outbreak.