Streptococcus suis is a bacterial pathogen of swine that can also cause severe infections in humans that come in direct contact with infected pigs. These zoonotic infections are fairly common in Asia, whereas in North America only a few sporadic human cases have been reported.
Until now, all reported Canadian human infections with S. suis originated from Quebec. We have now described the first case of zoonotic infection caused by this pathogen in Ontario.
The patient, a pig farmer, arrived at the hospital in a coma. Following excellent treatment, he has now recovered from his infection. Prior to his illness, his pig herd did not have symptoms of acute infection with S. suis, although it is possible his animals were asymptomatic carriers of this pathogen. Of note shortly before falling ill the farmer did not use recommended biosafety procedures, such as wearing safety goggles or gloves, when disposing of a dead animal. It is possible that the pig in question died as a result of an undiagnosed S. suis infection.