As producers continue to reduce the amount of antibiotics given to their herds, many are looking to other options to fight Streptococcus suis, more commonly known as Strep suis.
The pathogen is one of the primary causes of bacterial meningitis in pigs,1 and can cause illness at any stage of production, with associated mortality rates of up to 20%.2 With infections often existing subclinically and nearly 100% of pigs serving as carriers of the bacteria,3 Strep suis is a key concern for many producers.
Until now, Strep suis infections in commercial swine operations were largely controlled by preemptive antibiotics and biosecurity measures. But antibiotics can only go so far.
“Antibiotics don’t assist in immunity like vaccines do,” says Keith Wilson, DVM, senior professional service veterinarian at Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health USA Inc. “Rather, they help knock down levels of bacteria, which helps control the risk of the infection flaring up in a herd for a period of time. But as soon as the antibiotics are gone, the pigs are susceptible to Strep suis once again, and clinical signs often return.”
Putting technology to work
Part of the reason that there are no commercial Strep suis vaccines is the complexity of the pathogen, with some 35 strains having been identified thus far.4
To address this problem, Newport Laboratories Inc. pioneered three technological advancements in diagnostics and the custom-made vaccines it creates to help producers and veterinarians fight Strep suis:
1. Diagnostics — Using next-generation diagnostics, including whole-genome sequencing, Newport Laboratories, Inc. can identify the specific strains of Strep suis present in a herd. This allows a custom-made vaccine to go to work specifically targeting the strains causing the problem and to detect when a new strain emerges.
2. Adjuvants — The right adjuvant is an essential component of any vaccine. Newport Laboratories, Inc. continually tests and optimizes the adjuvants it uses in all of its custom-made vaccines, particularly those for Strep suis. “Over the last few years, our challenge studies comparing our old adjuvants and new adjuvants have been incredibly valuable,” says Wilson.
3. Antigen load — Internal challenge studies have helped Newport Laboratories, Inc. fine-tune the amount of Strep suis antigen that goes into its custom-made vaccines, another critical component of any vaccine.
When combined with sound biosecurity measures, these technological advancements in custom-made vaccines provide another option to help producers and veterinarians fight Strep suis infections. For more information, visit NewportLabs.com.
1 Unterweger C, Ruczizka U, Spergser J, et al. Effect of early-life treatment of piglets with long-acting ceftiofur on colonization of Streptococcus suis serotype 7 and elicitation of specific humoral immunity in a farm dealing with Streptococcal diseases. Pathogens 2018;7(2). pii: E34. doi:10.3390/pathogens7020034.
2 Villani DJ. A retrospective evaluation of actions taken to control Streptococcus suis infection. J Swine Health Prod 2003;11(1):27–30.
3 Cloutier G, D’Allaire S, Martinez G, et al. Epidemiology of Streptococcus suis serotype 5 infection in a pig herd with and without clinical disease. Vet Microbiol 2003;97(1–2):135–151.
4 Gottschalk M. Streptococcosis. In: Zimmerman J, Karriker L, Ramirez A, et al., eds. Diseases of swine. 10th ed. West Sussex, UK. Wiley-Blackwell, 2012;841–855.
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