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Prevalence and risk factors for Leptospira exposure in New Zealand veterinarians

  • J. M. SANHUEZA (a1), C. HEUER (a1), P. R. WILSON (a2), J. BENSCHOP (a3) and J. M. COLLINS-EMERSON (a3)...
Summary

This study assessed seroprevalence and risk factors for Leptospira (serovars Hardjo, Pomona, Ballum, Copenhageni, Tarassovi) exposure in New Zealand veterinarians. Veterinarians (n = 277) at one of two conferences were voluntarily enrolled and blood samples taken. Microscopic agglutination test (MAT) titres ⩾48 were considered seropositive. Fourteen veterinarians (5·1%, 95% confidence interval 2·8−8·3) were seropositive to Leptospira. Home slaughter of cattle or pigs were significant risk factors for Leptospira exposure. There were no clear relationships between the animal species handled at work and serostatus. However, veterinarians spending a ‘mid to high’ proportion of their time (>50% to ⩽75%) with pets had higher odds of being seropositive than those not working with pets. A borderline positive association (P = 0·09) was observed between seropositivity and clinical influenza-like illness (⩾3 days off work) in the 18 months before the study. Assuming causality, this suggests that 8·3% of these cases may be attributed to Leptospira exposure.

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Corresponding author
* Author for correspondence: Mr J. M. Sanhueza, Private Bag 11222, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand. (Email: j.m.sanhueza@massey.ac.nz)
References
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