Leptospirosis seroprevalence among blue metal mine workers of Tamil Nadu, India

Sakkarai Mohamed Asha Parveen, Baskar Suganyaa, Muthu Sri Sathya, Alphonse Asirvatham Princy Margreat, Karikalacholan Sivasankari, Santhanam Shanmughapriya, Nicholas E. Hoffman, Kalimuthusamy Natarajaseenivasan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Leptospirosis is mainly considered an occupational disease, prevalent among agriculture, sewage works, forestry, and animal slaughtering populations. However, putative risk to miners and their inclusion in the high-risk leptospirosis group remain in need of rigorous analysis. Therefore, a study was conducted with the objective to assess the leptospirosis seroprevalence among miners of two districts of Tamil Nadu, India. A total of 244 sera samples from Pudukkottai miners (124) and Karur miners (120) were analyzed by microscopic agglutination test. Antibodies to leptospires were detected in 94 samples giving an overall seroprevalence of 38.5%. The seroprevalence was higher among Pudukkottai miners (65.3%) when compared with Karur miners (10.8%). Seroprevalence among control population (13%) was significantly less than that of the Pudukkottai miners marking a possible high-risk population group distinction. Subject sera most commonly reacted with organisms of the serogroup Autumnalis, and the pattern was similar in carrier animals of the study areas. Two leptospires were isolated from kidney samples of rats. The prevalence of Autumnalis among rodents and humans source tracked human leptospirosis among the miners. The study also determined that Pudukkottai miners are subjected to high-risk challenges such as exposure to water bodies on the way to the mines (odds ratio [OR] = 10.6), wet mine areas (OR = 10.6), rat infestation (OR = 4.6), and cattle rearing (OR = 10.4) and are thus frequently exposed to leptospirosis compared with Karur miners. Hence, control strategies targeting these populations will likely to prove to be effective remediation strategies benefiting Pudukkottai miners and workers in similar environments across occupations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-42
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Parasitology
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases

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