Wilson, L.E. and Couper, S. and Prempeh, H. and Young, D. and Pollock, K.G.J. and Stewart, W.C. and Browning, L.M. and Donaghy, M. (2010) Investigation of a Q fever outbreak in a Scottish co-located slaughterhouse and cutting plant. Zoonoses and Public Health, 57 (7-8). pp. 493-498. ISSN 1863-1959
Outbreaks of Q fever are rare in the UK. In 2006, the largest outbreak of Q fever in Scotland occurred at a co-located slaughterhouse and cutting plant with 110 cases. Preliminary investigations pointed to the sheep lairage being the potential source of exposure to the infective agent. A retrospective cohort study was carried out among workers along with environmental sampling to guide public health interventions. A total of 179 individuals were interviewed of whom 66 (37%) were migrant workers. Seventy-five (41.9%) were serologically confirmed cases. Passing through a walkway situated next to the sheep lairage, a nearby stores area, and being male were independently associated with being serologically positive for Q fever. The large proportion of migrant workers infected presented a significant logistical problem during outbreak investigation and follow up. The topic of vaccination against Q fever for slaughterhouse workers is contentious out with Australasia, but this outbreak highlights important occupational health issues.
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