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Antimicrobial Resistant Bacteria: Exposures and Health of Cattle Workers


AbstractLivestock workers are at the frontline of exposure to agriculture-generated bioaerosols containing a diversemixture of respiratory pathogens. The misuse and overuse of antibiotics in agriculture has been posited as apotential driver in the accelerated development of antibiotic resistant genes (ARG). Animal handling, wastemanagement, and bioaerosol generation may contribute to relatively high personal exposure to antibioticresistant bacteria (ARB) on farms. The short- and long-term health effects of these bacteria are currentlyunknown. Moreover, workers may act as a vector ? disseminating ARG and viruses. Specifically, cattle workersare at greater risk of Influenza D virus, an emerging pathogen associated with acute respiratory disease. Theworkers may also pose a threat to the animals, such as introducing strains of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis(TB). We propose to address critical questions that remain about the impacts of worker exposure to respiratorypathogens and transmission to animals, farms and the larger community. The eighteen year collaborativeresearch program conducted by the High Plains Intermountain Center for Agricultural Health and Safety andregional dairy and beef producers offers a unique opportunity to investigate the role of workplace exposure onhuman-hosted bacterial communities (microbiome), associated antibiotic resistance genes (ARG, or resistome)and respiratory viruses (virome) and respiratory health in cattle workers. The research objective is to ascertainif ARG and viruses are underlying risk factors for subclinical markers of respiratory inflammation. The centralhypothesis is that the nasal microbiome of cattle workers will have distinct microbial communities and geneticconstitution that are associated with measurable levels of inflammation and airway resistance as compared tooccupational controls and housemates. The specific aims are to: (1) compare and contrast the composition ofthe microbiome, resistome, and virome among dairy and beef workers; (2) model exposure-responserelationships in the context of microbiome, resistome, virome and inflammatory markers and airway resistanceamong dairy and beef workers; and (3) ascertain subclinical health impacts of shared microbiome, resistome,and virome between occupational and household settings. This project unites scientists with expertise inoccupational health and exposure science, epidemiology, microbiology, genetics, and bioinformatics. This studywill contribute to greater awareness of workplace exposures and transmission of ARG and emerging virusesamong dairy and beef workers.

Schaeffer, Joshua William; Magzamen, Sheryl; Reynolds, Stephen J.
Colorado State University
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Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. for Occupational Safety and Health
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