Streptococcus suis colonization of piglets during parturition

Sandra F. Amass, DVM, MS; L. Kirk Clark, DVM, PhD; Kay Knox; Ching Ching Wu, DVM, PhD; Michael A. Hill, MS, PhD, MRCVS

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Objective-- To determine whether piglets were colonized with Streptococcus suis of sow origin during parturition

Materials and methods-- Multiple samples were collected from 43 piglets of eight dams. Oral and vaginal swab samples were collected from each sow prior to farrowing. Piglets were removed from the vagina using individual sterile obstetrical sleeves into which they were immediately placed. Swab samples of the oropharynx and dorsal surface of each piglet were collected. Umbilical blood from each piglet was collected into tubes of culture media. Room air was sampled to estimate the concentration of airborne S. suis. All collected samples were culturally examined for S. suis. Streptococcus suis isolates were serotyped using antisera to S. suis serotypes 1/2?34.

Results-- Fifty-four isolates of S. suis were identi?ed. Multiple serotypes of S. suis were isolated from samples collected from a single animal in 11 of the 51 sows and piglets sampled. Streptococcus suis was isolated from the oropharyngeal samples of all of eight sows and from the vaginal swab samples from three of eight sows. Streptococcus suis was isolated from the oropharyngeal swab samples from nine of 43 piglets, the surface swab samples from 13 of 43 piglets, and the blood samples from two of 43 piglets. In three of eight dams, S. suis isolated from samples collected from the dam was of the same serotype as the S. suis isolated from oropharyngeal or surface swab samples of that dam?s piglet. In two of these cases, the sow and her piglets matched on two different serotypes of S. suis. Streptococcus suis was not isolated from air samples.

Implications-- In these studies, we concluded that the source of S. suis was the sow, and that S. suis was transferred to the dorsal surface and oral cavity of the piglet during parturition when the piglet came into contact with S. suis from sow vaginal secretions.

Keywords: Streptococcus suis, serotypes, vertical transmission

RIS citationCite as: Amass SF, Clark LK, Knox K, et al. Streptococcus suis colonization of piglets during parturition. J Swine Health Prod 1996;4(6):269-272.

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