Residential proximity to high-density poultry operations associated with campylobacteriosis and infectious diarrhea
International journal of hygiene and environmental health
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Poultry carry zoonotic bacteria that can cause gastroenteritis in humans. Environmental transmission of pathogens from poultry operations may increase gastrointestinal infection risk in surrounding communities. To evaluate associations between residential proximity to high-density poultry operations and individual-level diarrheal illnesses, we conducted a nested case-control study among 514,488 patients in Pennsylvania (2006-2015). Using electronic health records, we identified cases of five gastrointestinal outcomes: three pathogen-specific infections, including Escherichia coli (n = 1425), Campylobacter (n = 567), and Salmonella (n = 781); infectious diarrhea (n = 781); and non-specific diarrhea (2012-2015; n = 28,201). We estimated an inverse-distance squared activity metric for poultry operations based on farm and patient addresses. Patients in the second and fourth (versus first) quartiles of the poultry operation activity metric had increased odds of Campylobacter (AOR [CI], Q2: 1.36 [1.01, 1.82]; Q3: 1.38 [0.98, 1.96]; Q4: 1.75 [1.31, 2.33]). Patients in the second, third, and fourth quartiles had increased odds of infectious diarrhea (Q2: 1.76 [1.29, 2.39]; Q3: 1.76 [1.09, 2.85]; Q4: 1.60 [1.12, 2.30]). Stratification revealed stronger relations of fourth quartile and both Campylobacter and infectious diarrhea in townships, the most rural community type in the study geography. Increasing extreme rainfall in the week prior to diagnosis strengthened fourth quartile Campylobacter associations. The poultry operation activity metric was largely unassociated with E. coli, Salmonella, and non-specific diarrhea. Findings suggest high-density poultry operations may be associated with campylobacteriosis and infectious diarrhea in nearby communities, highlighting additional public health concerns of industrial agriculture.
Poulsen, Melissa N.; Pollak, Jonathan; Sills, Deborah; Casey, Joan A.; Rasmussen, Sara G.; Nachman, Keeve E.; Cosgrove, Sara E.; Stewart, Dalton; and Schwartz, Brian S.. "Residential proximity to high-density poultry operations associated with campylobacteriosis and infectious diarrhea." International journal of hygiene and environmental health (2017) : 323-333.