Zoonotic Problems Reported by Sheep and Goat Farmers and Factors Potentially Contributing to the Occurrence of Brucellosis among Them
AuthorLianou D.T., Petinaki E., Michael C.K., Skoulakis A., Cripps P.J., Katsarou E.I., Papadopoulos E., Billinis C., Katsafadou A.I., Mavrogianni V.S., Caroprese M., Fthenakis G.C.
The study aimed to investigate the occurrence of zoonotic problems reported by dairy small ruminant farmers in Greece and to study potential associations with socio-demographic characteristics of the farmers and management practices applied in the farms. A countrywide investigation was performed in 325 sheep and 119 goat farms in the 13 administrative regions of Greece. The selected farms were visited and interviews were conducted with respective farmers. The occurrence of zoonotic problems in the farmers was recorded. A total biosecurity score (0–6) was devised, based on biosecurity practices followed in farms. Sixty-seven farmers (15.10%, 95% confidence intervals (CI): 12.1–18.7%) reported experiencing a zoonotic problem. Most of the farmers (n = 57) (85.1%, 95% CI: 74.76–91.7%, of those with a zoonotic problem) (12.8%, 95% CI: 10.0–16.3%, of all) reported that the zoonotic problem had been brucellosis. Odds ratio for the occurrence of brucellosis in goat farmers was 1.879 (95% CI: 1.051–3.359) compared to the occurrence of the infection in sheep farmers (p = 0.033). For the outcome ‘occurrence of brucellosis’ in sheep farmers, the application of hand-milking, the availability of a separate lambing area and the presence of cats in the farm emerged as significant (p < 0.01); for the same outcome in goat farmers, only the availability of a separate kidding area emerged as significant (p = 0.001). The mean biosecurity score in farms in the continental area of the country was significantly higher than in the islands: 3.45 ± 0.05 versus 2.76 ± 0.28, respectively (p = 0.006), whilst there was also a significantly higher score in farms, where the farmer reported occurrence of brucellosis: 3.68 ± 0.15 versus 3.34 ± 0.06 in farms, where the farmer did not report such an incident (p = 0.042). In farms, where the above predictors prevail, farmers should be warned of an increased potential risk for human infection and biosecurity measures should be implemented and tightened. © 2022 by the authors.
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