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Sero-Prevalence and Risk Factors for Leptospirosis in Abattoir Workers in New Zealand
EpiCentre, Massey University, Private Bag 11 222, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand
Section of Epidemiology, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, Zurich 8057, Switzerland
Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, Massey University, Private Bag 11 222, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand
Department of Public Health, University of Otago, P.O. Box 7343, Wellington 6242, New Zealand
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 12 December 2013; in revised form: 22 January 2014 / Accepted: 23 January 2014 / Published: 5 February 2014
Abstract: Leptospirosis is an important occupational disease in New Zealand. The objectives of this study were to determine risk factors for sero-prevalence of leptospiral antibodies in abattoir workers. Sera were collected from 567 abattoir workers and tested by microscopic agglutination for Leptospira interrogans sv. Pomona and Leptospira borgpetersenii sv. Hardjobovis. Association between prevalence and risk factors were determined by species specific multivariable analysis. Eleven percent of workers had antibodies against Hardjobovis or/and Pomona. Workers from the four sheep abattoirs had an average sero-prevalence of 10%–31%, from the two deer abattoirs 17%–19% and the two beef abattoirs 5%. The strongest risk factor for sero-positivity in sheep and deer abattoirs was work position. In sheep abattoirs, prevalence was highest at stunning and hide removal, followed by removal of the bladder and kidneys. Wearing personal protective equipment such as gloves and facemasks did not appear to protect against infection. Home slaughtering, farming or hunting were not significantly associated with sero-prevalence. There is substantial risk of exposure to leptospires in sheep and deer abattoirs in New Zealand and a persisting, but lower risk, in beef abattoirs. Interventions, such as animal vaccination, appear necessary to control leptospirosis as an occupational disease in New Zealand.
Keywords: abattoir; leptospirosis; Leptospira borgpetersenii sv. Hardjobovis; Leptospira interrogans sv. Pomona; microscopic agglutination test; sero-prevalence
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MDPI and ACS Style
Dreyfus, A.; Benschop, J.; Collins-Emerson, J.; Wilson, P.; Baker, M.G.; Heuer, C. Sero-Prevalence and Risk Factors for Leptospirosis in Abattoir Workers in New Zealand. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11, 1756-1775.
Dreyfus A, Benschop J, Collins-Emerson J, Wilson P, Baker MG, Heuer C. Sero-Prevalence and Risk Factors for Leptospirosis in Abattoir Workers in New Zealand. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2014; 11(2):1756-1775.
Dreyfus, Anou; Benschop, Jackie; Collins-Emerson, Julie; Wilson, Peter; Baker, Michael G.; Heuer, Cord. 2014. "Sero-Prevalence and Risk Factors for Leptospirosis in Abattoir Workers in New Zealand." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 11, no. 2: 1756-1775.