The aim of this study was to investigate seroprevalences to zoonotic pathogens in hunters, to compare the results with other predisposed occupational groups already investigated and to propose preventive measures. Blood samples were taken from 146 male and 3 female hunters from the provinces of Styria and Burgenland in the south-east of Austria and anamnestic data were obtained using a questionnaire. The serological investigations included the following bacterial, viral and parasitic zoonotic agents or zoonoses, respectively (antibody prevalence rates in brackets): borreliosis (IgG 42%, IgM 7%), brucellosis (1%), chlamydiosis (3%), ehrlichiosis (IgG 15%, IgM 3%), leptospirosis (10%), tularaemia (3%), Q fever (0%), encephalomyocarditis virus (EMCV, 15%), Puumala-Hantavirus (10%), Newcastle Disease virus (4%), Echinococcus multilocularis/E. granulosus (5%/11%), toxocariasis (17%). Particularly striking in comparison with the control group and the veterinarians, farmers and slaughterhouse workers examined in earlier projects were the high seroprevalences to Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, Ehrlichia spp., Leptospira interrogans, E. granulosus and E. multilocularis, encephalomyocarditis, Puumala-Hantavirus and Newcastle Disease virus as well as to Brucella abortus and Francisella tularensis. The present study indicates that hunters are especially exposed to zoonotic pathogens.
Adult Agricultural Workers" Diseases/blood Agricultural Workers" Diseases/epidemiology Agricultural Workers" Diseases/prevention & control Austria/epidemiology Environmental Exposure/prevention & control Environmental Exposure/statistics & numerical data Female Food-Processing Industry/statistics & numerical data Humans Male Occupational Diseases/blood* Occupational Diseases/epidemiology* Occupational Diseases/prevention & control Occupational Exposure/prevention & control Occupational Exposure/statistics & numerical data* Serologic Tests/methods Veterinarians/statistics & numerical data Zoonoses/epidemiology* Zoonoses/parasitology*