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1.  Evaluation of the presence and zoonotic transmission of Chlamydia suis in a pig slaughterhouse 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14(1):560.
A significant number of studies on pig farms and wild boars worldwide, demonstrate the endemic presence of Chlamydia suis in pigs. However, the zoonotic potential of this pathogen, phylogenetically closely related to Chlamydia trachomatis, is still uninvestigated. Therefore, this study aims to examine the zoonotic transmission in a Belgian pig abattoir.
Presence of Chlamydia suis in pigs, contact surfaces, air and employees was assessed using a Chlamydia suis specific real-time PCR and culture. Furthermore, Chlamydia suis isolates were tested for the presence of the tet(C) gene.
Chlamydia suis bacteria could be demonstrated in samples from pigs, the air and contact surfaces. Moreover, eye swabs of two employees were positive for Chlamydia suis by both PCR and culture. The tet(C) gene was absent in both human Chlamydia suis isolates and no clinical signs were reported.
These findings suggest the need for further epidemiological and clinical research to elucidate the significance of human ocular Chlamydia suis infections.
PMCID: PMC4216655  PMID: 25358497
Chlamydia suis; Swine; Zoonosis; Tetracycline; Public health
2.  Routine dipstick urinalysis in daily practice of Belgian occupational physicians 
Archives of Public Health  2012;70(1):15.
Little work has been done to assess the quality of health care and the use of evidence-based methods by occupational physicians in Belgium. Therefore, the main objective is to describe one aspect of occupational health assessments, namely the common use of dipstick urinalysis, and to compare the current practice with international guidelines.
A self-administered questionnaire was mailed to 211 members of the Scientific Association of Occupational Medicine in the Dutch speaking part of Belgium.
A total of 120 occupational physicians responded, giving a response rate of 57%. Dipstick urinalysis was a routine investigation for the vast majority of physicians (69%). All test strips screened for protein and in 90% also for blood. Occupational health services offered clinical tests to satisfy customer wants as international guidelines do not recommend screening for haematuria and proteinuria in asymptomatic adults. A lack of knowledge concerning positive testing and referral criteria was demonstrated in almost half of the study participants.
Belgian occupational physicians still routinely perform dipstick testing although there is no evidence to support this screening in healthy workers. To practice evidence-based medicine, occupational physicians need more instruction and training. Development and implementation of more guidelines is not only of use for the individual practitioner, it may also enhance professionalization and efficiency of occupational health care.
PMCID: PMC3436716  PMID: 22958323
Evidence-based practice; Occupational health; Guidelines; Health surveillance
3.  Evaluation of a Chlamydophila psittaci Infection Diagnostic Platform for Zoonotic Risk Assessment▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2007;46(1):281-285.
Reports on zoonotic transmission of Chlamydophila psittaci originating from poultry are incidentally published. During recent studies in European turkeys we isolated C. psittaci genotypes A, B, D, E, F, and E/B, all considered potentially dangerous for humans. This encouraged us to analyze the zoonotic risk on a Belgian turkey farm, from production onset until slaughter, using a Chlamydophila psittaci diagnostic platform. Twenty individually marked hens, as well as the farmer and two scientists, were monitored medically. Bioaerosol monitoring, serology, isolation, and nested PCR demonstrated chlamydiosis on the farm leading to symptomatic psittacosis in all 3 persons involved. ompA sequencing confirmed the zoonotic transmission of C. psittaci genotype A. Strangely, two different antibody microimmunofluorescence (MIF) tests remained negative in all infected persons. The results demonstrate the value of the currently used diagnostic platform in demonstrating C. psittaci infections in both birds and humans but raise questions regarding use of the MIF test for diagnosing human psittacosis. In addition, our results suggest the underestimation of psittacosis in the poultry industry, stressing the need for a veterinary vaccine and recommendations for zoonotic risk reduction strategies.
PMCID: PMC2224303  PMID: 18003799

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