Pathogen Exposure

Dairy cows in field

What is pathogen exposure in agriculture?

Pathogens are bacteria, viruses, or other microorganisms that can cause disease. Agricultural workers can be exposed to various pathogens, such as those from contaminated environments, like wastewater and soils, and zoonotic pathogens through direct or indirect contact with animals.

Why is it harmful to workers?

Dairy workers may be exposed to numerous pathogens when feeding, moving, or caring for cattle. Symptoms from these types of infections are often gastrointestinal in nature but can result in more serious consequences, such as hospitalization or death.

How is WCAHS addressing these issues?

WCAHS investigators are collaborating with California dairies to reduce dairy farmworker exposure to infectious diseases spread via infected cattle and manure. Investigators will identify the occupational tasks that elevate the risk of exposure, through evaluation of workplace controls, personal protective behaviors, and equipment that reduce the risk of acquiring zoonotic diseases.

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