Molecular detection of M. tuberculosis and M. bovis and hematological and biochemical analyses in agricultural sprayers exposed to pesticides: A cross-sectional study in Punjab, Pakistan during 2014-2016
We determined the correlation between a pesticide exposure, physical health and susceptibility toward tuberculosis along with hematological indices and liver enzymes' alterations in sprayers exposed to pesticides. Molecular detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium bovis was detected by targeting histone-like protein (hupB) gene. The WBC (white blood cells) and RBC (red blood cells) levels of male sprayers and non-sprayers were significantly different (P < 0.05). In female spray workers, the WBC and neutrophils levels were significantly different as compared with non-sprayers. Overall, in both male and female pesticide-exposed sprayers, mean values of alanine amino transferase and aspartate amino transferase were higher as compared with unexposed workers. M. Tuberculosis were detected in 15% male sprayers and 36% female sprayers while, M. bovis was detected in 5% male sprayers and 10% female sprayers. A χ2-test indicated that there existed a significant different (P < 0.05) between positive and negative M. tuberculosis and M. bovis in both male/female spray workers out of total. The susceptibility of pesticide-exposed sprayers to tuberculosis and alterations in hematology and liver enzymes is crucial for health. Toxic effects of pesticides may lead to a weak immune system and increased tuberculosis susceptibility.