Objective: Infection with Campylobacter jejuni, a bacterium carried by poultry and livestock, is the most frequently identified antecedent to the autoimmune neurologic condition Guillain-Barré Syndrome. We used Agricultural Health Study data to assess whether cattle farming was associated with prevalence of neurologic symptoms.
Methods: Prevalence of self-reported symptoms in cattle farmers (n = 8878) was compared with farmers who did not work with animals (n = 7462), using multivariate regression.
Results: Prevalence of numbness and weakness were increased for beef and dairy farmers compared with the reference group (P < 0.0001). Of cattle farmers, 48% did not report raising other animal species, and prevalence of numbness and weakness were also increased in this subgroup compared with the reference group (P < 0.02).
Conclusions: Occupational exposure to cattle was associated with increased prevalence of self-reported symptoms associated with peripheral neuropathy.