We conducted a serosurvey of landscapers to determine if they were at increased risk for exposure to Francisella tularensis and to determine risk factors for infection. In Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, landscapers (n=132) were tested for anti-F. tularensis antibody and completed a questionnaire. For comparison, serum samples from three groups of nonlandscaper Martha's Vineyard residents (n=103, 99, and 108) were tested. Twelve landscapers (9.1%) were seropositive, compared with one person total from the comparison groups (prevalence ratio 9.0; 95% confidence interval 1.2 to 68.1; p=0.02). Of landscapers who used a power blower, 15% were seropositive, compared to 2% who did not use a power blower (prevalence ratio 9.2; 95% confidence interval 1.2 to 69.0; p=0.02). Seropositive landscapers worked more hours per week mowing and weed-whacking and mowed more lawns per week than their seronegative counterparts. Health-care workers in tularemia-endemic areas should consider tularemia as a diagnosis for landscapers with a febrile illness.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Microbiology (medical)
- Infectious Diseases