Leptospira Exposure and Waste Pickers: A Case-Control Seroprevalence Study in Durango, Mexico

Cosme Alvarado-Esquivel, Jesus Hernandez-Tinoco, Luis Francisco Sanchez-Anguiano, Agar Ramos-Nevarez, Sandra Margarita Cerrillo-Soto, Carlos Alberto Guido-Arreola


Background: Infection with Leptospira may occur by contact with Leptospira-infected animals. Waste pickers are in contact with rodents and dogs while picking in the garbage. Whether waste pickers are at risk for Leptospira infection is largely unknown. This study was aimed to determine the association of Leptospira IgG seroprevalence with the occupation of waste picking, and to determine the epidemiological characteristics of the waste pickers with Leptospira exposure.

Methods: Through a case-control study, we determined the seroprevalence of anti-Leptospira IgG antibodies in 90 waste pickers and 90 age- and gender-matched control subjects in Durango City, Mexico using an enzyme immunoassay. Data were analyzed by bivariate and multivariate analyses.

Results: The prevalence of anti-Leptospira IgG antibodies was similar in waste pickers (4/90: 4.4%) to that in control subjects (5/90: 5.6%) (P = 1.00). Bivariate analysis showed that Leptospira exposure in waste pickers was associated with increasing age (P = 0.009), no education (P = 0.008), and consumption of rat meat (P = 0.04). However, these associations were no longer found by multivariate analysis. Leptospira exposure in waste pickers was not associated with health status, duration in the activity, wearing hand gloves and facemasks, history of injuries with sharp material of the garbage, or contact with animals or soil.

Conclusions: This is the first study about Leptospira exposure in waste pickers. Results suggest that waste pickers are not at increasing risk for Leptospira exposure in Durango City, Mexico. Further research with a larger sample size to elucidate the association of Leptospira exposure with waste picking activity is needed.

J Clin Med Res. 2015;7(8):637-640
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.14740/jocmr2217w


Leptospira; Epidemiology; Seroprevalence; Waste pickers; Mexico

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