Most zoonoses are occupational diseases. Q fever, brucellosis and tularemia are major zoonotic diseases for butchers and slaughterhouse workers. However, little information is available about these infectious diseases in such professional populations in western of Iran. The aim of this study was to investigate the seroprevalence and risk factors associated with these three zoonoses among butchers and slaughterhouse workers in the Lorestan province of Iran. In 2017, 289 individuals (144 butchers or slaughterhouse workers, and 145 people from the general population) were enrolled in 11 different counties of this province. Collected serum samples were tested by ELISA for detection of IgG antibodies against Coxiella burnetii, Brucella spp. or Francisella tularensis antigens. The seroprevalence of Q fever, brucellosis and tularemia among all participants were 23.5%, 31.8% and 3.8%, respectively. The seroprevalence of brucellosis and Q fever among butchers and slaughterhouse workers (43.7% and 29.8%, respectively) were significantly higher (p < 0.05) than those of the general population (20% and 17.2%, respectively). A contact history with small ruminants (sheep and goats) was associated with a higher risk of positive serology for all three studied zoonoses. The high seroprevalence for Q fever and brucellosis we found among butchers and slaughterhouse workers suggests that both diseases are common in these populations of the Lorestan province. Since these two infectious diseases are clinically unspecific, they must be systematically included in the etiological diagnosis of infectious diseases occurring in these at-risk populations. In addition, we recommend specific training programs as well as the use of personal protective equipment in these occupational groups to reduce the occurrence of these zoonotic diseases.
Keywords: Brucelloses; Iran; Lorestan province; Q fever; Seroprevalence; Tularemia; Zoonoses.