Occupational exposure to airborne microorganisms, endotoxins and β-glucans in poultry houses at different stages of the production cycle
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Biohazard Laboratory, Department of Chemical, Aerosol and Biological Hazards, Central Institute for Labour Protection – National Research Institute, Warsaw, Poland
Department of Biohazards and Immunoallergology, Institute of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health, Sosnowiec, Poland
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2013;20(2):259–268
The aim of the presented study was to assess the exposure of poultry workers to airborne microorganisms, endotoxins and β-glucans during different stages of the chicken production cycle in 3 commercially-operated poultry houses. Personal and stationary sampling was carried out to assess exposure to both viable and total microbial aerosols. The stationary measurements of PM10 were performed to establish the level of endotoxins and β-glucans. The concentrations of bacterial and fungal aerosols ranged from 2.5×102 CFU/m3 – 2.9×106 CFU/m3, and from 1.8×102 CFU/m3 – 1.8×105 CFU/m3, respectively. The number of culturable microorganisms was significantly lower than their total counts, constituting from 0.0004% – 6.4% of the total microbial flora. The level of PM10 in poultry facilities did not exceed 4.5 mg/m3. After the flock entered the clean house, the level of endotoxins and β-glucans increased from below detection limit to 8,364 ng/m3 and from 0.8 ng/m3 to 6,886 ng/m3, respectively. The presented study shows that professional activities in poultry farms are associated with constant exposure to bioaerosol, which may pose a health hazard to workers. It was found that workers’ exposure to airborne microorganisms increased with consecutive stages of the chicken production cycle.
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