Natalie Thiel

Project title: Risk Factors for Bartonella Seroreactivity Among Veterinary Workers in the Pacific Northwest

Degree: MPH | Program: One Health (ONE) | Project type: Thesis/Dissertation
Completed in: 2021 | Faculty advisor: Peter Rabinowitz


Exposure to zoonotic disease is a significant occupational risk in veterinary medicine. In this study, we characterized PPE use, injury frequency, and Bartonella seroreactivity in Washington State veterinary workers. Using a job exposure matrix developed to reflect occupational risk factors for exposure to Bartonella and multiple logistic regression, we explored determinants of risk for Bartonella seroreactivity. Depending on the titer cutoff used, Bartonella seroreactivity was between 24.0% and 55.2%. No significant predictors of seroreactivity were found, though the relationship between high-risk status and increased seroreactivity for some Bartonella species approached significance. The predictive power of the model was likely limited by the small sample size and high level of exposure to risk factors for most participants. Given the high proportion of veterinarians seroreactive to one or more of the three Bartonella spp. known to infect dogs and cats in the United States, and the unclear relationship between occupational risk factors and seroreactivity, more research is needed in this area.