Number of Streptococcus suis patients rises
Nearly 100 cases of Streptococcus suis and 4 fatalities have been reported since November 25, the result of consuming raw pork or raw pork blood contaminated with the bacterium.
Dr Taweechai Visanuyothin, director of Disease Prevention and Control Office 9, which is based in Nakhon Ratchasima province, reported on December 5 that 548 cases of Streptococcus suis were recorded between March 1 and November 25 with 26 fatalities.
Of these, 6 fatalities were within the jurisdiction of Health District 9, comprising 4 cases in Nakhon Ratchasima, 1 case in Chaiyaphum, and 1 case in Buri Ram. Dr Taweechai added that from January 1 to November 25, Health District 9 had seen 130 Streptococcus suis patients, with Nakhon Ratchasima having the highest number with 95 cases, followed by Chaiyaphum with 14, Surin with 14, and Buri Ram with 7. Most patients were labourers, followed by farmers and homemakers.
Streptococcus suis is caused by consuming raw pork, or raw pork blood contaminated with Streptococcus suis. This bacterium resides in the respiratory tract of pigs and in the blood of infected pigs. It can be transmitted through wounds, scratches, or mucous membranes. Once infected, individuals experience sudden high fever, headaches, shivering, confusion, joint pain, stiff neck, sudden hearing loss, and reduced hearing, along with abnormal posture, difficulty breathing, rapid heartbeat, low blood pressure, widespread bruising, eye pain, redness, or blurred vision.
Many recent social media posts have been showing diners enjoying raw food with alcoholic beverages, increasing the risk of infection.
Combined with the approaching cold season and the New Year celebrations, there is therefore concern that more people might order raw or undercooked grilled food, raw pork blood salad, or raw fermented pork. Public health authorities also warn that if wounds come into contact with contaminated raw pork or blood, the risk of Streptococcus suis infection increases.