BMC Infect Dis 2019 Jun 7;19(1):502. Epub 2019 Jun 7.
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Research Centre for Emerging and Reemerging infectious diseases, Pasteur Institute of Iran, No. 69, Pasteur Ave, Tehran, 1316943551, Iran.
Background: Francisella tularensis is the causative agent of tularemia in humans and a large number of animal species. Considering recent evidence of the circulation of this bacterium in different parts of Iran, especially in the western provinces, the aim of current study was to determine the tularemia seroprevalence in the human population living in Ilam Province.
Methods: In 2015, 360 serum samples were collected from five groups of people: ranchers (n = 112), farmers (n = 79), butchers and slaughterhouse workers (n = 61), Nature Conservation Officers (n = 34), and referents of medical diagnostic laboratories (n = 74). These samples were tested for the presence of anti- F. tularensis IgG antibodies using the ELISA method.
Results: According to the ELISA manufacturer cutoffs, we found that 10 (2.78%) and 9 (2.5%) sera, respectively, were positive or borderline for F. tularensis IgG antibodies. The highest tularemia seroprevalence was observed among farmers (7.59%).
Conclusions: Our results strongly support the circulation of tularemia in Ilam Province. Because no human tularemia case has been reported so far in this province, we recommend specific education programs to increase knowledge of local health care professionals about this important zoonotic disease.