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Occupational risk of salmonellosis and campylobacteriosis: a nationwide population-based registry study

Abstract

Objectives Occupational exposure to animals and foods thereof is a poorly characterised risk factor for salmonellosis and campylobacteriosis, the main causes of bacterial gastroenteritis in the Western world. We performed a population-based registry study in the Netherlands to assess whether differences exist in the incidence of reported salmonellosis and campylobacteriosis cases among occupational groups, and whether they can be explained by differences in the magnitude of exposure to these pathogens, as defined by serology.

Methods Person-level occupational data for all Dutch residents were linked to lab-confirmed salmonellosis and campylobacteriosis data, and to serological data from a previous national serosurvey. SIRs for salmonellosis and campylobacteriosis among occupational sectors and specific high-risk occupations were calculated based on the total employed population. Moreover, Salmonella and Campylobacter seroincidence rates were compared among sectors and high-risk occupations.

Results Occupational exposure to live animals or manure and working in the sale of animal-derived food products were associated with significantly increased risks of salmonellosis (SIR 1.55–1.82) and campylobacteriosis (SIR 1.36–1.65). Moreover, incidences were significantly higher in specific industrial sectors, as well as healthcare and social work sectors. Mean seroincidence rates ranged from 1.28 to 2.30 infections/person-year for Campylobacter, and from 0.36 to 0.99 for Salmonella, with only slightly higher rates for people in high-risk occupations.

Conclusions Significant differences in reported salmonellosis and campylobacteriosis incidence exist among occupational sectors, with the highest incidence in those persons occupationally exposed to live animals. These differences are only partially reflected in the serology.

  • microbiology
  • epidemiology
  • hygiene / occupational hygiene
  • zoonoses
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