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An Australian case of Streptococcus suis toxic shock syndrome associated with occupational exposure to animal carcasses

Med J Aust 2008; 188 (9): 538-539.

Streptococcus suis is known to cause sporadic infections in people who have occupational exposure to pigs and pig meat. A large outbreak occurred in China in 2005, where there was 62% mortality among those who developed toxic shock syndrome. Despite S. suis being common in pigs, this is the first published report of a human case of S. suis toxic shock syndrome in Australia.

In April 2007, a 41-year-old man developed sudden-onset lower abdominal pain and rigors. Fevers, headache, diarrhoea, vomiting and dizziness developed and continued throughout the day. In the evening, he presented to the emergency department of a suburban non-teaching hospital in Melbourne. He had no pre-existing illness and had worked for 5 months as a pet-food processor, handling carcasses of sheep, cattle and pigs.

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  • Adrian R Tramontana1
  • Maryza Graham1
  • Vincent Sinickas1
  • Narin Bak2,3

  • 1 Department of Microbiology, Melbourne Health Shared Pathology Service, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 2 Western Health, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 3 University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC.


Acknowledgements: 

We thank Dr Craig Dancer (Microbiology Registrar) and Rolf Wise (Medical Scientist) at the Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science for performing the 16S rRNA gene sequencing. We thank Brenda McCormack (Diagnostic Laboratory Manager) from the Pig Health Research Unit at the Victorian Government Department of Primary Industries, Mary Dep (Scientist) at Atwood Veterinary Diagnostic Services and Dr Mark Williamson (Veterinary Pathologist) at Gribbles Pathology for their data on Streptococcus suis in Victorian pig specimens.

Competing interests:

None identified.

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