Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

First analysis of recent disease outbreak in China

11.04.2006


First scientific analysis of Chinese outbreak of S.suis, spread from pigs to humans



Last year, there was major press coverage of an alarmingly large and deadly outbreak of Streptococcus suis disease in Sichuan province in China (see http://www.who.int/csr/don/2005_08_03/en/).

Now George Gao, Yu Wang, Jiaqi Tang, Xiaoning Wang and colleagues from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and other Chinese institutions publish the first scientific description of the outbreak in the international open-access journal PLoS Medicine.


S. suis is a pathogen with serious economic effects on the pig industry world-wide. The disease is endemic in adult pigs in most countries where pig farming is common. Infections in adult pigs are usually asymptomatic, but infant piglets that get infected through contact with colonized adult females can develop fatal sepsis.

Transmission to humans is rare and generally restricted to individuals with occupational exposure to live or dead pigs. The first human case of S. suis infection was reported in Denmark in 1968. Most of the 200 or so previously reported human cases were characterized by meningitis and septicemia; fewer than 1 in 10 infected humans died.

The recent Sichuan outbreak, in contrast, affected over 200 individuals and killed 38 of them. Besides the large number of infected individuals and the high mortality rate, it was the clinical symptoms associated with this outbreak that attracted interest and worry from scientists and health officials worldwide when the outbreak was first reported.

As Tang and colleagues detail in their article, a large proportion of the infected individuals (including all but one of the patients who died) showed symptoms of Streptococcal toxic shock syndrome (STSS), which had not previously been observed in patients infected with S. suis. However, as Tang and colleagues show, the pathogen in the recent outbreak (as well as in an earlier outbreak in Sichuan province in 1998 that killed 14 of 25 reported patients) was clearly a strain of S. suis. As they describe, both human outbreaks were closely linked to outbreaks in the local pig populations, and there is no reason to believe that any of the cases had been caused by human-to-human transmission.

One of the key questions that arose when the recent outbreak was first reported is whether a new and more virulent strain of S. suis has emerged in China. Tang and colleagues did a genetic study of the S. suis bacteria that they isolated from the Chinese outbreaks to look for unusual characteristics that could explain why these outbreaks were so severe. They did find some differences between the isolates from the two Chinese outbreaks (which appear very similar to each other) and other virulent strains of S. suis. However, more detailed studies are needed before it is clear whether any of these differences are important in explaining why some strains of S. suis are so lethal.

In an accompanying Perspective article, Shiranee Sriskandan and Joshua Slater suggest that S. suis infection “should now be in the list of differential diagnoses when clinicians encounter patients with unexplained sepsis who have a history of exposure to pigs.” They conclude that “the emergence of any new zoonotic disease [an animal disease than can be transmitted to humans] associated with high mortality is of global concern” and call for “international collaboration … to clarify differences between isolates circulating in different regions of the world.”

Andrew Hyde | alfa
Further information:
http://www.plosmedicine.org/
http://www.who.int/csr/don/2005_08_03/en/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Unique brain 'fingerprint' can predict drug effectiveness
11.07.2018 | McGill University

nachricht Direct conversion of non-neuronal cells into nerve cells
03.07.2018 | Universitätsmedizin der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Subaru Telescope helps pinpoint origin of ultra-high energy neutrino

16.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Barium ruthenate: A high-yield, easy-to-handle perovskite catalyst for the oxidation of sulfides

16.07.2018 | Life Sciences

New research calculates capacity of North American forests to sequester carbon

16.07.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>