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Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2004 Jul;207(3):279-95.

Development of agroenvironmental indicators to evaluate the hygienic pressure of livestock production on human health.

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Faculté de médecine vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, Canada.


Infections by enteropathogenic microorganisms linked to agroenvironmental contamination represent a significant threat to urban and rural communities. To better characterize and manage this risk, it is necessary, not only to accurately describe enteric illnesses occurring over time or across regions, but also to correctly assess exposure attributable to this environmental pollution. New agroenvironmental hygienic pressure indicators (AHPIs) were developed to synthesise relevant data expressing this exposure. They were derived from a conceptual framework for developing sustainable agriculture indicators and specifically adapted for describing the microbial risk of water contamination by livestock operations. The proposed indicators include two components, and five attributes whose values are calculated at the livestock operation level from a set of available data related to the fields of microbiology, animal production, agronomy, hydrology, and meteorology. They are then aggregated at a higher geographical level to better express exposure of human populations to potential of water contamination by zoonotic enteropathogens. The indicators are calculated separately by zoonotic enteropathogens, and by water source (surface or groundwater). They take into account the various animal species within each livestock operation. When validated, the proposed indicators will allow decision-makers and public health officials to better manage crucial issues in the area of water safety and agriculture.

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