Transmission of bacteria between livestock and house sparrows and the potential pathogenic risk to farm workers

Grants and Contracts Details


Zoonotic disease occurs when humans come into close contact with the normal reservoirs or vectors of disease-causing pathogens. Farms provide multiple opportunities for exposure of workers to pathogens carried by livestock, and possibly by wildlife associated with livestock. The demography of pathogens in livestock is likely influenced by interactions with wildlife, yet little is known about the factors affecting these interactions. I propose a follow-up study of disease-causing bacteria and the role of avian-livestock interactions in the demography of these bacteria in the agricultural landscape. I plan to 1) characterize samples collected in the field for a broad array of bacteria types, 2) obtain DNA sequences from existing isolates from sparrows and livestock to collect more direct evidence regarding whether there is transfer between them, and 3) test for antibiotic resistance of bacteria collected from sparrows. The results will provide initial findings on prevalence, spatial and temporal dynamics, and possible transmission mechanisms. These pilot data will catalyze the development of more extensive studies of the role of birds in health issues facing agricultural workers, funded by the USDA, NIH, or NSF.
Effective start/end date9/30/019/29/15


  • National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health


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