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Risk of infection and associated influenza-like disease among abattoir workers due to two Leptospira species

  • A. DREYFUS (a1) (a2), C. HEUER (a1), P. WILSON (a3), J. COLLINS-EMERSON (a3), M. G. BAKER (a4) and J. BENSCHOP (a3)...
Summary
SUMMARY

The aims of this study were to determine the annual incidence of infection with Leptospira interrogans serovar Pomona and/or Leptospira borgpetersenii serovar Hardjo and its association with influenza-like illness (ILI) in meat workers in New Zealand. Sera were collected twice, 50–61 weeks apart, from 592 workers at eight abattoirs slaughtering sheep (n = 4), cattle (n = 2) and deer (n = 2), and tested by the microscopic agglutination test for Hardjo and Pomona. Forty-nine (8·3%) participants either seroconverted or had at least a twofold increased serological titre against either serovar. The worker infection risk was higher in sheep abattoirs (11·9%) than in abattoirs processing deer (0%) or cattle (1·2%) (P < 0·01). The annualized risk of mild (ILI) or severe clinical disease attributable to the two Leptospira serovars was 2·7%. This study has demonstrated that meat workers are at substantial risk of infection and clinical disease, suggesting further investigation of infection sources and preventive measures are warranted.

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Corresponding author
* Author for correspondence: Miss A. Dreyfus, Section of Epidemiology, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 270, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland. (Email: adreyfus@vetclinics.uzh.ch)
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Epidemiology & Infection
  • ISSN: 0950-2688
  • EISSN: 1469-4409
  • URL: /core/journals/epidemiology-and-infection
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