Occupational Asthma Reference

Khattak I, Mushtaq MH, Ahmad MU, Khan MS, Haider J., Zoonotic tuberculosis in occupationally exposed groups in Pakistan., Occup Med, 2016;:,10.1093/occmed/kqw039

Keywords: Pakistan, TB, abattoir, farmer, M Bovis,

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BACKGROUND: Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) remains a public health threat in low-income countries. Data on human tuberculosis (TB) due to Mycobacterium bovis are poorly documented in developing countries.

AIMS: To determine the occurrence of active pulmonary TB due to M. bovis in abattoir workers, butchers, livestock farmers and veterinarians and to document their knowledge and practices regarding bTB.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study of abattoir workers, butchers, livestock farmers, veterinary doctors and veterinary assistants, which obtained data on socio-demographic conditions, knowledge and practices regarding TB. Sputum samples were collected from respondents with a chronic cough. The chi-squared test was used for statistical analysis.

RESULTS: A total of 141 abattoir workers, 317 butchers, 50 livestock farmers, five veterinary doctors and three veterinary assistants took part. Four out of 16 abattoir workers and 1 out of 50 livestock farmers were positive for M. bovis by PCR analysis. Duration of work as an abattoir worker was significantly associated (P < 0.05) with prevalence of zoonotic TB. The knowledge of abattoir workers, butchers, livestock farmers and veterinary assistants regarding transmission of bTB from animals to humans and the symptoms of TB in humans was very poor. Most of these workers did not use protective equipment and appropriate safe working techniques and were considered at high risk of acquiring zoonotic TB.

CONCLUSIONS: Zoonotic TB is a significant public health issue among professionally exposed groups in Peshawar, Pakistan and suggests a need for further detailed investigations of the disease in this and similar areas.

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