If pneumonia in local residents living near goat farms is caused by one or more pathogens originating from goats, then goat farmers and their employees should be the most likely people to come into contact with it. This does not mean that pneumonia would also be more prevalent among goat farmers or goat farm employees. People can come into contact with pathogens without becoming ill. We will therefore be researching goat farmers and their employees to identify which pathogens they are exposed to. When we know which pathogens occur among goat farmers and their employees, that data can be compared with findings from the other studies among patients and local residents.
For this sub-study, we want to examine about 150 goat farmers and their employees. The researchers will visit each participant to take samples: nose and throat swabs, blood samples and stool samples. The participants will fill out a questionnaire about their health. The samples will be analysed to see to which micro-organisms people working on goat farms are exposed to. The results will be processed anonymously in a report. No personal results will be shared with others. The results will be compared to results from the same type of samples taken from people who do not work on a goat farm. This allows us to identify any differences or similarities.
The first samples from goat farmers and their employees were collected in early December 2020. Physical visits and sampling are currently temporarily on hold due to the measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Once the COVID-19 situation permits such activities, the researchers will resume collecting samples from goat farmers and their employees.