Non-cancer mortality in poultry slaughtering/processing plant workers belonging to a union pension fund.
Environ Int 2011 Feb; 37(2):322-327
Background: The role of the biological environment in the occurrence of many chronic human diseases has been little studied. Humans are commonly exposed to transmissible agents that infect and cause a wide variety of subacute and chronic diseases in chickens and turkeys. The objective of this study is to investigate whether these agents cause similar diseases in humans, by studying workers in poultry slaughtering and processing plants who have one of the highest human exposures to these agents. Methods: Mortality in poultry workers was compared with that in the United States general population through the estimation of standardized mortality ratios. Results: Excess mortality from infectious and parasitic diseases was observed in the poultry workers. In addition, excess occurrences of deaths involving several sites of the cardiovascular, neurological, endocrine, gastrointestinal and reproductive systems, were observed, although the numbers involved were few in some instances. Conclusion: The results indicate that poultry workers are at increased risk of dying from certain causes of death, including infections. This is consistent with other reports. Although it is possible that occupational exposure to transmissible agents present in poultry may be one of the causes of the excess occurrence of some of these diseases, other factors that were not considered because of the nature of the study design, could be equally important. Also, the small number of deaths involved in some instances calls for caution in interpreting the results. However, the study is important, as it has succeeded in newly identified areas that need further research, and which may have implications not only for workers, but also for the general population.
Viral-diseases; Viral-infections; Poultry-industry; Poultry-workers; Meat-handlers; Mortality-rates; Humans; Curing-compounds; Food-handlers; Food-processing; Food-processing-industry; Food-processing-workers;
Author Keywords: Infections; Infectious diseases; Chickens; Turkeys; Zoonosis
Eric Johnson, Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of North Texas Health Science Center, 3500 Camp Bowie Blvd. Fort Worth, TX 76107
University of North Texas