Seroprevalence of Tularemia in Risk Groups of Humans and Animals in Van, East of Turkey

Bayram Y., OZKACMAZ A., Parlak M., Başbuğan Y., KILIC S., Güdücüoğlu H.

MIKROBIYOLOJI BULTENI, vol.49, no.4, pp.532-541, 2015 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 49 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.5578/mb.9966
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.532-541
  • Keywords: Francisella tularensis, human, animal, seroprevalence, tularemia, FRANCISELLA-TULARENSIS, EPIDEMIOLOGY, DIAGNOSIS, REGION
  • Van Yüzüncü Yıl University Affiliated: Yes


Tularemia has become a re-emerging zoonotic disease in Turkey recently. The aims of this study were to determine the seroprevalence of tularemia in humans and their animals living in rural risky areas of our region and to investigate the risk factors. Between January and July 2012, people living in rural areas of Van province (located at eastern part of Turkey) and their domestic animals were included in the study. The sample size was determined by using cluster sampling method like in an event with known prevalence and planned as a cross-sectional epidemiological study. Proportional random sampling method was used to determine which individuals will be included in the study. Presence of tularemia antibodies in the sera of a total 495 voluntary persons (343 female, 152 male; age range: 18-79 years, mean age: 40.61) and their 171 animals (40 cattle, 124 sheep and 7 goats) were screened by microagglutination test using safranin O-stained F.tularensis antigen (Public Health Agency of Turkey). For the evaluation of cross-reactivity between Brucella spp., tularemia positive serum samples were also tested with brucella microagglutination test. Among human and animal samples, 11.9% (59/495) and 44% (76/171) yielded positive results with the titers of >= 1:20 in F.tularensis microagglutination test, respectively. However, 69.5% (41/59) of human sera and 78.9% (60/76) of animal sera demonstrated equal or higher titers in the brucella test, so those sera were considered as cross-reactive. After exclusion of these sera, the seroprevalence for F.tularensis were calculated as 3.6% (18/495) for humans and 9.4% (16/171) for animals. Among the 16 animals with positive results, 12 were sheep, three were cattle and one was goat. The difference between seropositivity rates among the domestic animal species was not statistically significant (p>0.05). In addition, no statistically significant differences were found between risk factors including insect bite, tick bite, contact with rodents, eating the meat of hunted animals (rabbit), having pet (cat) in home (p>0.05). In this study, the rate of tularemia seropositivity among humans was similar to the results of previous studies which were performed in our country; however the seropositivity rate of tularemia among domestic animals in our study was higher than the results of a few studies which were conducted on domestic animals. In conclusion, preventive procedures and precautions must be taken into consideration to control the transmission of the infection.