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Avian zoonoses – a review

Abstract

Birds are one of the most interesting and most colourful groups of animals, but they can also be a source of zoonotic factors dangerous for humans. This paper describes the threats to human health from contact with birds. The most vulnerable occupational groups associated with birds are veterinarians, owners of poultry farms, breeders of ornamental birds, zoo personnel, and poultry slaughterhouse workers. Ornithosis is the most dangerous zoonosis of the avian bacterial diseases. Among other hazardous bacterial factors, Salmonella and Campylobacter are responsible for gastrointestinal diseases. Avian influenza is the most dangerous of the viral diseases. It should be noted, however, that avian influenza is a disease of birds, not humans. The recent threat which has appeared is infection with West Nile virus. The results of serological examinations of birds and humans indicate that the virus exists in our ecosystem. Allergic alveolitis connected with the pigeon tick and the Dermanyssus gallinae mite also merits mention. In any case, where people have contact with birds or their droppings and secretions, special precautions should be taken. This way the negative effects of birds on human health can be minimised or eliminated

Open access
Study on Toxoplasma gondii, Leptospira spp., Coxiella burnetii, and Echinococcus granulosus infection in veterinarians from Poland

Abstract

Introduction: Exposure to zoonotic factors in veterinary practice is closely related to the nature of the work. The main aim of the study was to determine the risk of selected zoonotic infections among the occupational group of veterinarians in Poland.

Material and Methods: Blood samples of 373 veterinarians (162 males and 211 females) from 12 provinces of Poland were collected by the venipuncture of a forearm for serological tests. Commercial immunoenzymatic tests (ELISA) were used for detection of specific IgG antibodies to Echinococcus granulosus, IgM and IgG to Leptospira spp., and IgM, IgA, and I and II phase IgG to Coxiella burnetii. Enzyme-linked fluorescence assays (ELFA) were used to detect IgM and IgG antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii.

Results: Positive results were found in 209 (56.0%) veterinarians for at least one of the examined diseases. The overall proportion of participants found to have specific Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in the IgM and/or IgG assays amounted to 44.5%. The presence of Coxiella burnetii antibodies was found in 16 (4.3%) subjects, while Leptospira spp. antibodies were detected in 63 (16.9%) veterinarians. Among the 373 veterinarians examined, no Echinococcus granulosus antibodies were found.

Conclusion: Results of the study seem to indicate a slightly elevated risk of Toxoplasma gondii infection and a moderate risk of infection with Leptospira spp. and Coxiella burnetii in veterinarians.

Open access