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

Open access


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.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • 1. Abe T. Yamaki K. Hayakawa T. Fukuda H. Ito Y. Kume H. Komiya T. Ishihara K. Hirai K.: A seroepidemiological study of the risks of Q fever infection in Japanese veterinarians. Eur J Epidemiol 2001 17 1029–1032.

  • 2. Brandon-Mong G.J. Che Mat Seri N.A. Sharma R.S. Andiappan H. Tan T.C. Lim Y.A. Nissapatorn V.: Seroepidemiology of toxoplasmosis among people having close contact with animals. Front Immunol 2015 6 143.

  • 3. Chang C.C. Lin P.S. Hou M.Y. Lin C.C. Hung M.N. Wu T.M. Shu P.Y. Shin W.Y. Lin J.H. Chen W.C. Wu H.S. Lin L.J.: Identification of risk factors of Coxiella burnetii (Q fever) infection in veterinary-associated populations in southern Taiwan. Zoonoses Public Health 2010 57 95–101.

  • 4. Doudier B. Garcia S. Quennee V. Jarno P. Brouqui P.: Prognostic factors associated with severe leptospirosis. Clin Microbiol Infect 2006 12 299–300.

  • 5. Dubey J.P.: The history of Toxoplasma gondii-the first 100 years. J Eukaryot Microbiol 2008 55 467–475.

  • 6. Ergonul O. Zeller H. Kilic S. Kutlu S. Kutlu M. Cavusoglu S. Esen B. Dokuzoğuz B.: Zoonotic infections among veterinarians in Turkey: Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever and beyond. Int J Infect Dis 2006 10 465–469.

  • 7. Felzemburgh R.D. Ribeiro G.S. Costa F. Reis R.B. Hagan J.E. Melendez A.X. Fraga D. Santana F.S. Mohr S. dos Santos B.L. Silva A.Q. Santos A.C. Ravines R.R. Tassinari W.S. Carvalho M.S. Reis M.G. Ko A.I.: Prospective study of leptospirosis transmission in an urban slum community: role of poor environment in repeated exposures to the Leptospira agent. PLOS Negl Trop Dis 2014 8 2927.

  • 8. Fiecek B. Grochowalska A. Chmielewski T. Tylewska-Wierzbanowska S.: Leptospira spp. and Coxiella burnetii infections occurring in Radomskie District in people of selected professional groups. Przegl Epidemiol 2012 66 605–610.

  • 9. Hackert V.H. van der Hoek W. Dukers-Muijrers N. de Bruin A. Al Dahouk S. Neubauer H. Bruggeman C.A. Hoebe C.J.: Q fever: single-point source outbreak with high attack rates and massive numbers of undetected infections across an entire region. Clin Infect Dis 2012 55 1591–1599.

  • 10. Kiliç S. Al F.D. Celebi B. Babür C.: The investigation of the seroprevalence of cystic echinococcosis in veterinary surgeons. Türkiye Parazitol Derg 2007 31 109–111.

  • 11. Lassen B. Janson M. Viltrop A. Neare K. Hütt P. Golovljova I. Tummeleht L. Jokelainen P.: Serological evidence of exposure to globally relevant zoonotic parasites in the Estonian population. PLoS One 2016 11 0164142.

  • 12. Laurimaa L. Davison J. Plumer L. Süld K. Oja R. Moks E. Keis M. Hindrikson M. Kinkar L. Laurimae T. Abner J. Remm J. Anijalg P. Saarma U.: Noninvasive detection of Echinococcus multilocularis tapeworm in urban area Estonia. Emerg Infect Dis 2015 21 163–164.

  • 13. McLean M. Ruscoe Q. Kline T. King C. Nesdale A.: A cluster of three cases of leptospirosis in dairy farm workers in New Zealand. N Z Med J 2014 127 13–20.

  • 14. Molineri A. Signorini M.L. Pérez L. Tarabla H.D.: Zoonoses in rural veterinarians in the central region of Argentina. Aust J Rural Health 2013 21 285–290.

  • 15. Monno R. Fumarola L. Trerotoli P. Cavone D. Giannelli G. Rizzo C. Ciceroni L. Musti M.: Seroprevalence of Q fever brucellosis and leptospirosis in farmers and agricultural workers in Bari Southern Italy. Ann Agric Environ Med 2009 16 205–209.

  • 16. National Institute of Public Health – National Institute of Hygiene (NIZP-PZH) – Reports on cases of infectious diseases and poisonings in Poland 2017.

  • 17. Paul M.: Potential risk factors for Toxoplasma gondii infection in cases with recently acquired toxoplasmosis. Przegl Epidemiol 1998 52 447–454.

  • 18. Porter S.R. Czaplicki G. Mainil J. Guattéo R. Saegerman C.: Q Fever: current state of knowledge and perspectives of research of a neglected zoonosis. Int J Microbiol 2011 2011 248418.

  • 19. Quijada S.G. Terán B.M. Murias P.S. Anitua A.A. Cermeño J.L. Frías A.B.: Q fever and spontaneous abortion. Clin Microbiol Infect 2012 18 533–538.

  • 20. Rivera-Benitez J.F. Rosas-Estrada K. Pulido-Camarillo E. de la Peña-Moctezuma A. Castillo-Juárez H. Ramírez-Mendoza H.: Serological survey of veterinarians to assess the zoonotic potential of three emerging swine diseases in Mexico. Zoonoses Public Health 2014 61 131–137.

  • 21. Rosypal A.C. Houk A.E. Zajac A.M. Lindsay D.S.: Prevalence of IgG antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii in veterinary and undergraduate students at Virginia Tech Blacksburg Virginia. Zoonoses Publ Health 2015 62 553–556.

  • 22. Sadaghian M. Jafari R.: Prevalence of toxoplasma infection in veterinary laboratory sciences students comparing to ordinary people: a case-control study. J Parasit Dis 2016 40 768–771.

  • 23. Sang-Eun L. Hong S.H. Jeong Y.I. Lee J.H. Yoo S.J. Lim H.S. Lee W.J. Cho S.H.: Cross-sectional analysis of the seropositivity and risk factors of Toxoplasma gondii infection among veterinarians in relation to their public professional activities. Vet Parasitol 2014 203 29–34.

  • 24. Sanhueza J.M. Heuer C. Wilson P.R. Benschop J. Collins-Emerson J.M.: Prevalence and risk factors for Leptospira exposure in New Zealand veterinarians. Epidemiol Infect 2015 143 2116–2125.

  • 25. Shuhaiber S. Koren G. Boskovic R. Einarson T.R. Soldin O.P. Einarson A.: Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection among veterinary staff in Ontario Canada (2002): implications for teratogenic risk. BMC Infect Dis 2003 3 8.

  • 26. Sroka J. Wójcik-Fatla A. Szymańska J. Dutkiewicz J. Zając V. Zwoliński J.: The occurrence of Toxoplasma gondii infection in people and animals from rural environment of Lublin region – estimate of potential role of water as a source of infection. Ann Agric Environ Med 2010 17 125–132.

  • 27. Szymańska-Czerwińska M. Galińska E.M. Niemczuk K. Knap J.P.: Prevalence of Coxiella burnetii infection in humans occupationally exposed to animals in Poland. Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis 2015 15 261–267.

  • 28. Touma D. Sersté T. Ntounda R. Mulkay J.P. Buset M. Van Laethem Y.: The liver involvement of the hydatid disease: a systematic review designed for the hepatogastroenterologist. Acta Gastroenterol Belg 2013 76 210–218.

  • 29. Valencia M.C. Rodriguez C.O. Punet O.G. de Blas Giral I.: Q fever seroprevalence and associated risk factors among students from the Veterinary School of Zaragoza Spain. Eur J Epidemiol 2000 16 469–476.

  • 30. Van den Brom R. Schimmer B. Schneeberger P.M. Swart W.A. van der Hoek W. Vellema P.: Seroepidemiological survey for Coxiella burnetii antibodies and associated risk factors in Dutch livestock veterinarians. PLoS One 2013 8 54021.

  • 31. Wasiński B. Sroka J. Wójcik-Fatla A. Zając V. Cisak E. Knap J.P. Sawczyn A. Dutkiewicz J.: Seroprevalence of leptospirosis in rural populations inhabiting areas exposed and not exposed to floods in eastern Poland. Ann Agric Environ Med 2012 19 285–288.

  • 32. Whitney E.A. Ailes E. Myers L.M. Saliki J.T. Berkelman R.L.: Prevalence of and risk factors for serum antibodies against Leptospira serovars in US veterinarians. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2009 234 938–944.

  • 33. Whitney E.A. Massung R.F. Candee A.J. Ailes E.C. Myers L.M. Patterson N.E. Berkelman R.L.: Seroepidemiologic and occupational risk survey for Coxiella burnetii antibodies among US veterinarians. Clin Infect Dis 2009 48 550–557.

  • 34. Wynwood S.J. Graham G.C. Weier S.L. Collet T.A. McKay D.B. Craig S.B.: Leptospirosis from water sources. Pathog Glob Health 2014 108 334–338.

  • 35. Zhang W. Wang S. McManus D.P.: Echinococcus granulosus genomics: a new dawn for improved diagnosis treatment and control of echinococcosis. Parasite 2014 21 66. doi: 10.1051/parasite/2014066.

Journal information
Impact Factor

IMPACT FACTOR J Vet Res 2018: 0.829
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 0.938

CiteScore 2018: 0.68

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.291
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.501

Cited By
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 474 242 9
PDF Downloads 196 101 16