Introduction There are about 1.3 billion workers engaged in agricultural sector which is one of the most hazardous jobs in the world. Farmers are mainly at risk of exposure to physical, chemical and biological or hazards in the workplace. This paper is part of a wide project that will be addressed in health surveillance activities for the agricultural workers, and characterising exposure to biological, chemical and physical risks among farmers and animal breeders in the Region of Abadan district, southwest of Iran.
Methods A cross-sectional study was carried out in Abadan district, southwest of Iran. Two groups of farmers and animal breeders were included in the study. Personal data and socio-demographic and clinical information, personal habits and the results of physical and laboratory examination were obtained by the personal data collection forms through health surveillance activities by expert health professionals. Blood samples were collected from all the subjects, lung function was measured using a spirometer. Data were analysed using IBM SPSS statistics 22 software (IBM, Armonk, NY, USA).
Results The study stresses the significant increase of immune parameters in animal breeders in the Abadan district. Workers in rural areas were relatively at higher risk of zoonoses and occupational diseases than in urban areas.
Conclusion Despite underreporting of occupational diseases in agriculture setting, available data clearly show a significant health risk, and therefore the there is a strong need for conducting health surveillance activities at the workplace in southwest of Iran. The implementation of health surveillance programs for agricultural workers relies on the possibility of creating a system able to reach the workers at their workplaces and with the collaboration of employers’ associations, will be able to support enterprises in several issues, including risk assessment and management
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