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Streptococcus suis in Swedish grower pigs

Last changed: 17 November 2020
Growing pig

Streptococcus suis is a major cause of meningitis, arthritis, and pneumonia in pigs worldwide, and an emerging pathogen in humans. In Sweden, S. suis has previously received little attention but has in recent years become increasingly recognized as affecting the pig production.

The aim of the present study was to investigate the occurrence, serotypes and antimicrobial susceptibility of S. suis in Swedish grower pigs from herds with and without reported S. suis associated disease, as well as possible associations between S. suis associated disease and selected environmental and production factors. Swab samples were taken from the tonsils of clinically healthy 8–13-week-old grower pigs from ten case herds and ten control herds. Isolates were cultured, identified using MALDI–TOF MS, and serotyped using latex agglutination. The antimicrobial susceptibility of 188 isolates was tested using broth microdilution. Production data was gathered and environmental parameters were measured on the farms.


Streptococcus suis was isolated from 95% of the sampled pigs in both the case and the control herds. Serotypes 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10, 11, 15, 16, and 17–34 were detected, although a majority of the isolates (81.5%) were non-typeable. There was less diversity among the serotypes isolated from the case herds than among those from the control herds; four and nine different serotypes, respectively. Isolates resistant to penicillin (3.8%) were reported for the first time in Sweden. Tetracycline resistance was common (88.4%). No association was noted between the production and the environmental factors investigated, and the carriership of S. suis.


The carriership of S. suis was found to be higher in clinically healthy Swedish pigs than previously estimated, and for the first time, the presence of Swedish isolates resistant to penicillin was reported. Many of the most commonly disease-associated serotypes, e.g. serotypes 2, 9, 3, and 7, were detected in healthy grower pigs although further studies are needed to investigate the virulence of these isolates.

Link to the publication


Werinder, A., Aspán, A., Backhans, A. et al. Streptococcus suis in Swedish grower pigs: occurrence, serotypes, and antimicrobial susceptibility. Acta Vet Scand 62, 36 (2020).