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- The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Impact of a Food Safety Campaign on Streptococcus suis Infection in Humans in Thailand
Streptococcus suis is an important zoonotic pathogen in swine and humans that causes sepsis and meningitis. Our previous study in Thailand showed that the prevalence of S. suis infection in humans, especially in northern areas of Thailand, and the transmission of the pathogen occurred mainly through the consumption of traditional raw pork products. Considering the high incidence proportion and mortality rate of the disease as an important public health problem, we implemented a food safety campaign in the Phayao Province in northern Thailand in 2011. We evaluated the effects of a food safety campaign by comparing the sociodemographic, clinical, and bacteriological characteristics of cases before and after the campaign. The follow‐up study showed a marked decrease of the incidence proportion in the first 2 years, indicating the effectiveness of the campaign. In the third year, however, the incidence proportion slightly increased again, indicating the existence of deep‐rooted cultural behaviors and the necessity of continuous public health intervention. Furthermore, epidemiological analysis of the cases made it possible to estimate the infectivity of the pathogen via the oral route of infection. In the present study, we showed the effectiveness of the food safety campaign for controlling the S. suis infection, and we present a role model public health intervention for prevalent areas affected by S. suis infection in humans.