The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of antibodies against zoonotic agents in employees of the zoological garden of Vienna, Schönbrunn, Austria. Sixty out of 120 employees participated in the study. In 97 % of them antibodies to at least one zoonotic agent were identified. Only two participants were free of antibodies to the zoonotic agents tested. The following seroprevalences (in brackets) were obtained: Viral zoonotic (and potentially zoonotic) agents: Influenzavirus A/H1N1 (58%), Influenzavirus A/H3N2 (85 %), Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (13 %), Encephalomyocarditis virus (5 %), Orthopox- (Cowpox-) virus and Hantavirus type Puumala (3 %). Hantavirus type Hantaan and Borna disease virus (all negative). Bacterial zoonotic agents: Bartonella henselae (65 %), Borrelia burgdorferi (10 %), Leptospira interrogans serovar Copenhageni and serovar icterohaemorrhagiae as well as Chlamydophila psittaci (2 % each). Brucella spp., Coxiella burnetii, and Francisella tularensis (all negative). Parasitic zoonotic agents: Toxoplasma gondii (53 %), Toxocara spp. (21 %), Capillaria hepatica (2 %), Fasciola hepatica, Schistosoma mansoni, E. multilocularis, and E. granulosus (all negative). The remarkably high seroprevalence to the causative agent of cat scratch disease, Bartonella henselae, is probably due to the private contact of the employees to cats. Regarding viral zoonotic agents it has to be mentioned that Influenzavirus vaccination and/or human-to-human transmission of especially A/H3N2 Influenzaviruses probably attributed significantly to the very high seroprevalence to both Influenzavirus types A/H1N1 and A/H3N2. When investigating parasitic zoonotic agents, high prevalence rates were found against Toxoplasma gondii and Toxocara spp., however, it was not possible to establish a causal link between seropositivity and the professional activity in the zoo. Interestingly, in the case of antibodies to T.gondii, the typical correlation with age was not found in this study, while in the case of the Toxocara spp. positive subjects a correlation was identified with both age and duration of employment in the zoo. Regarding the later two zoonotic parasites, employees of the zoological garden showed significantly higher seroprevalences than the average Austrian population. Antibodies to Capillaria hepatica, a hepatic-parasite in rodents which is diagnosed in humans rarely, were identified in one employee and another one showed a questionable positive result. Further investigations did not exhibit clinical infestations with the parasite in these two individuals sofar.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Berliner und Munchener Tierarztliche Wochenschrift|
|Publication status||Published - Sep 2004|
- Parasitic and viral zoonoses
- Zoo workers
- Zoological Garden SchöNbrunn/Vienna
ASJC Scopus subject areas