Exposure to pathogens among workers in a poultry slaughter and processing plant

Yaqi You, Kimberly Leahy, Carol E. Resnick, Tracy Howard, Karen C Carroll, Ellen Silbergeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Working conditions in poultry slaughter/processing plants may expose workers to zoonotic pathogens. We explored exposure to pathogens among poultry slaughter/processing plant workers including job duties as risk factors. Methods: We collected questionnaire data on job duties and nasal swabs from 110 workers at one plant in South Carolina. Swabs were tested for Staphylococcus aureus and gram-negative organisms. Isolates were screened for antimicrobial susceptibility. Results: There was no differences in prevalence of S. aureus carriage based on job duties. As compared with office or packing workers, the adjusted odds of GNO carriage was 6.29 times (95% CI: 1.43, 27.71) higher in slaughter or carcass processing workers and 5.94 times (95% CI: 0.94, 37.50) higher in cleaning or maintenance workers. Conclusions: Poultry processing plant workers may have increased exposure to GNOs, depending on job duties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)453-464
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Gram-negative pathogens
  • MRSA
  • Occupational exposure
  • Poultry plants
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Zoonotic pathogens

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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