Neurologic symptoms associated with raising poultry and swine among participants in the Agricultural Health Study

J Occup Environ Med. 2011 Feb;53(2):190-5. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31820805d5.


Objective: Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) is the leading cause of acute peripheral neuropathy worldwide, often associated with recent foodborne infection with Campylobacter jejuni. In this cross-sectional analysis of data from the Agricultural Health Study, we tested whether swine and poultry exposure were associated with increased prevalence of GBS-like neurologic symptoms.

Methods: Using multivariate analysis, we tested the symptoms such as numbness and weakness, relevant to inflammatory peripheral neuropathies, among farmers with self-reported occupational poultry or swine exposure compared with farmers who reported no occupational animal exposure.

Results: Among swine farmers/workers, prevalence of weakness and numbness were increased (P < 0.05). Among poultry farmers/workers, prevalence of weakness and numbness were increased, but increased prevalence of weakness was not statistically significant.

Conclusions: Occupational contact with live poultry or swine, potentially related to C. jejuni exposure, was associated with increased reporting of GBS-like symptoms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / diagnosis
  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Hypesthesia / diagnosis
  • Hypesthesia / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Weakness / diagnosis
  • Muscle Weakness / epidemiology
  • Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis
  • Nervous System Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Poultry*
  • Prevalence
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Swine*