SHIC Monitors as Pennsylvania Declares S. zooepidemicus a Dangerous Transmissible Disease

The Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) continues to monitor Streptococcus equi subspecies zooepidemicus (S. zooepidemicus) in the US. This includes recent cases in Pennsylvania where, on December 23, 2019, their Department of Agriculture designated S. zooepidemicus in swine a dangerous transmissible disease (DTD). By Pennsylvania law, the state's Department of Agriculture has authority to monitor the domestic animal population of the Commonwealth to determine the prevalence, incidence, and location of transmissible diseases of animals. The DTD designation provides legislative authority for requiring reporting of S. zooepidemicus along with penalties for noncompliance in Pennsylvania.

Per communication from Dr. Kevin Brightbill, Pennsylvania state veterinarian, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, in conjunction with USDA Veterinary Services, is investigating the death of a cull sow with heavy growth of S. zooepidemicus. The death occurred at an approved livestock market. The adult sow was in poor condition and consigned by a small livestock dealer along with four other sows in a similar state. Tissues from the sow were submitted for African swine fever and classical swine fever surveillance purposes.

Traceback revealed the sow passed through a livestock dealer with a recent spike in mortality in their holding facility. The dealer purchased 11 cull sows from another auction and over a couple days, seven of the 11 died abruptly. Unfortunately, the dealer then marketed the four surviving sows to a large slaughter only livestock auction with one more death. The three remaining sows have been confirmed to have gone to slaughter. The traceback premises where the sows farrowed is currently under quarantine for S. zooepidemicus. The remainder of swine on the premises will be moved by permit directly to a slaughter facility with no possibility of diversion.

Dr. Brightbill said, "It was a difficult decision to list S. zooepidemicus as a DTD, however, it is a necessary step to do our part to help prevent this devastating emerging disease. Unfortunately, when there is a potential to make a dime on less than healthy cull sows and boars there is an opportunity to transfer disease along with it."

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