Worms & Germs Blog

Tag Archives: streptococcus

Flesh Eating Disease with a Pony Link

Posted in Horses
The bacterium Streptococcus equi subsp. zooepidemicus (often simply called Streptococcus zooepidemicus) is one that I think I understand less and less, including the risks this predominantly equine-associated bug poses to humans. It’s a well-known and common bacterium in horses, both healthy and sick, and can also be found in dogs and cats (where it can… Continue Reading

Fatal Horse-Associated Streptococcus zooepidemicus Infection

Posted in Horses
A recent report in MMWR describes a pair of Streptococcus equi subsp. zooepidemicus infections in people.  The cases are noteworthy because this bacterium doesn’t often cause human infections, and because one of the infected people died. More commonly referred to simply as Strep zoo, this bacterium is very commonly found in perfectly healthy horses, although… Continue Reading

Oddball infections or concerns?

Posted in Cats, Dogs
Anytime you see a case report in the medical literature, you know it must be something rare or new. Otherwise, no one would publish the occurrence of a single case. That can skew people’s perceptions because weird things get more attention. So, it’s always hard to say what we should think about one-off reports of… Continue Reading

Equine strangles persistence

Posted in Horses
This week, a horse show in Halifax (UK) was cancelled because of some local cases of strangles (Streptococcus equi subsp equi infection). We can debate whether that was prudent or overkill (or whether measures could have been put in place to reduce the risk and make it manageable), but it highlights the concerns that accompany… Continue Reading

Horses, strangles, streptococcus

Posted in Horses
A paper in the journal BMC Research Notes describes a case of meningitis in a 73-year-old man that was attributed to contact with a horse (Madzar et al 2015). The man was admitted to hospital with fever, headache, neck stiffness, malaise and drowsiness. He was ultimately diagnosed with meningitis caused by Streptococcus zooepidemicus (technically, Streptococcus… Continue Reading

Beware the mongoose

Posted in Other animals
I’ve been bitten lots of times, some on the job (including the last dog I saw when I was in general practice) and some off (including a dog down the road a couple of years ago). Fortunately, I haven’t suffered any serious consequences. That’s what happens most of the time. However, bad things can and do… Continue Reading

Streptococcus zooepidemicus: Bar-coding the bad guys

Posted in Horses
Here is another equine update from guest blogger, Dr. John Prescott of the University of Guelph. Research presented at the Ninth International Equine Infectious Disease conference last week in Lexington, Kentucky, highlighted the dramatic impact that the latest inexpensive genome sequencing techniques are having on understanding microbial disease.  This is well illustrated by an epidemic… Continue Reading

Will genomics eradicate strangles?

Posted in Horses
More from the International Conference on Equine Infectious Diseases, this time from guest blogger and bacteriologist-extraordinaire, Dr. John Prescott of the University of Guelph: Stellar work on understanding strangles and Streptococcus equi subspecies equi was presented at the Ninth International Equine Infectious Disease conference in Lexington, Kentucky. Researchers at the Animal Health Trust in Newmarket,… Continue Reading

Flesh-eating disease in a dog

Posted in Dogs
A Wyoming (USA) dog has died of necrotizing fasciitis (more popularly and dramatically known as "flesh-eating disease"). This isn’t unheard of in dogs, but it’s a pretty rare disease. The six-year-old Great Dane’s infection apparently raised some concern because of the diagnosis of necrotizing fasciitis in three people in the area. However, there is no… Continue Reading

Flesh eating disease from a turtle?

Posted in Reptiles
A UK hairdresser is recovering from necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease) that was linked to his pet turtle. The problem started when he cut his finger while cleaning out the turtle’s tank. An infection developed, which isn’t too surprising since a turtle terrarium is full of a variety of bacteria. However, instead of a mild, local infection,… Continue Reading

Pets and strep

Posted in Dogs
An upcoming article in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases entitled "Zoonoses in the bedroom" has attracted some attention in the press. I haven’t been able to access a copy yet, but will probably write about it soon. However, one article that was written about the paper had a pretty weak lead-in piece: "Nikki Moustaki knew something… Continue Reading

Horse bite leads to meningitis

Posted in Horses
You never want to be the subject of a medical case report. A 37-year-old British woman was featured in a recent edition of Lancet (Brouwer et al 2010), in a paper entitled "A horse bite to remember." The woman was admitted to hospital with a fever, headache, neck stiffness, confusion, difficulty speaking and nausea. These… Continue Reading

Strep zoo infections in people

Posted in Horses
Streptococcus zooepidemicus is an important cause of infections in horses. This bacterium can also be found in healthy horses. When you consider the large number of horses that are infected and the larger number of healthy horses that are carriers, along with the close contact that people have with horses, it’s pretty obvious that people… Continue Reading

Bare feet and horse bugs

Posted in Horses
I assume that people wouldn’t voluntarily and regularly walk around barefoot on dog feces (or feces of any type), yet it’s perplexing that some people regularly clean out horse stalls in bare feet (I’ve seen it done!). While horse manure may not be as inherently gross as dog poop, it’s still feces, and like all… Continue Reading

Another fatal strep outbreak at a shelter

Posted in Dogs, Other diseases
A very poorly-written and confusing report suggests that another Streptococcus zooepidemicus outbreak is underway in dogs in a shelter in Ohio. Five of 175 dogs on the premises died suddenly of hemorrhagic pneumonia. The report variably mentioned a "virus that mutated from horses," that it’s thought to be "not contagious" despite multiple dogs being affected,… Continue Reading

Group A strep and dogs

Posted in Dogs
I was asked this the other day, in regards to a post about pets and recurrent strep infections in people: "You listed a few things to remember and one of them was how the pet might be an "innocent bystander infected by a family member."  Is there any indication that a dog  might get sick… Continue Reading

Horse Strep in a person via a dog

Posted in Dogs, Horses, Other diseases
Streptococcus equi subspecies zooepidemicus (usually just called Strep zooepidemicus) is a common cause of infection in horses. It is an "opportunist" that is often found in healthy horses, but which can cause disease in certain situations. While horses are the natural host of this bacterium, sporadic infections and outbreaks are occasionally reported in dogs at… Continue Reading

“Horse strep” in people

Posted in Horses
I received the following question the other day: "I have a friend who had chemo embolization on tumor on liver in late June. She is in hospital now, and an abscess was discovered on liver.  Pathology results said "equine strep".  Her brother visited immediately after procedure, and he works with horse full time." Streptococcus is a… Continue Reading

Pets and strep throat

Posted in Cats, Dogs, Other diseases
Another question that I periodically get asked is about pets (mainly dogs) and strep throat. The usual situation is a household where there has been strep throat in multiple family members or where someone, usually a child, has had repeated bouts of strep throat. People ask whether their pet could be the source. Strep throat… Continue Reading