Livestock diseases afflict vets

At least one in every three state vets and veterinary workers contracts potentially life-threatening diseases transmitted from farm animals as a result of their work, research made public yesterday in Thessaloniki shows. Seventy percent of affected employees – some 34 percent of all workers in the sector – are vets, according to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture and released ahead of a national veterinary conference that opens today in the northern city. The most common complaint is brucellosis, a disease also known as Malta or Gibraltar fever, whose most virulent strains can kill 6 percent of all human sufferers. Some 89.2 percent of all infected vets and other veterinary workers contract brucellosis, while anthrax is the second most common disease at 2.8 percent and salmonellosis comes third at 2.5 percent. Tuberculosis is another threat, affecting less than 1 percent of sufferers. The survey found that vets and veterinary workers are most likely to contract diseases transmitted from sick animals in the first five years of their employment.

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