Exposure to zoonotic Staphylococcus aureus among industrial hog operation workers and their household contacts in North Carolina, and dissemination into the household environment Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
  • Nadimpalli, Maya
    • Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering
  • Industrialized systems of food animal production are a potential source of exposure to antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus that can be transmitted between animals and humans. In the United States, there is little information regarding occurrence and persistence of exposure to S. aureus among healthy individuals who have frequent contact with intensively-raised livestock, or about occupational activities that may be associated with exposure, health implications of exposure, or dissemination of these bacteria into the household environment. This dissertation sought to address these research gaps. In Chapter 2, I describe findings from a 14-day, repeated measures pilot study in which we observed persistent nasal carriage with zoonotic S. aureus among industrial hog operation workers, even during time away from work. In Chapters 3 and 4, I describe findings from a four month repeated-measures study of workers and their household members, in which we observed that (1) infrequent face mask use was a predictor of workers’ nasal carriage with zoonotic S. aureus, (2) presence of zoonotic S. aureus in workers’ noses may be associated with recently reported symptoms of skin and soft tissue infection, (3) workers in North Carolina frequently carry a S. aureus strain type commonly detected in Asia (CC9), and (4) zoonotic S. aureus may be shared between workers and their household members. In Chapter 5, I describe findings from a household environmental sampling study in which we observed that households’ environmental exposure to industrial hog operations was associated with presence of zoonotic S. aureus in the home, and that S. aureus in household members’ noses was similar to what we recovered from their household environment. Overall, the findings outlined in this dissertation suggest that current livestock production practices can lead to persistent nasal carriage of zoonotic S. aureus among workers as well as their household members, and that some of these antibiotic-resistant strains can have reservoirs in the household environment. Additional research is necessary to determine public health risks associated with these zoonotic, antibiotic-resistant bacteria. These research findings could be used to help inform national policies about food animal production practices such that worker and community health may be safeguarded.
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  • In Copyright
  • Aitken, Michael
  • Heaney, Christopher
  • Wing, Steve
  • Fry, Rebecca
  • Stewart, Jill
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2015
Place of publication
  • Chapel Hill, NC
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