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Association of Parkinson's disease with infections and occupational exposure to possible vectors

Authors

  • M. Anne Harris PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. University of British Columbia, School of Population and Public Health, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    2. Cancer Care Ontario, Occupational Cancer Research Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    • Cancer Care Ontario, Occupational Cancer Research Center, 505 University Avenue, 14th Floor, Toronto ON M5G 1X3, Canada
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  • Joseph K. Tsui MB, FRCPC,

    1. University of British Columbia, Department of Medicine, Division of Neurology, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    2. Pacific Parkinson's Research Centre, UBC Hospital, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
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  • Stephen A. Marion MD,

    1. University of British Columbia, School of Population and Public Health, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
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  • Hui Shen PhD,

    1. University of British Columbia, School of Population and Public Health, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
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  • Kay Teschke PhD

    1. University of British Columbia, School of Population and Public Health, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
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  • Relevant conflicts of interest/financial disclosures: Nothing to report.

  • Full financial disclosures and author roles may be found in the online version of this article.

Abstract

The ultimate causes of idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD) are not fully known, but environmental and occupational causes are suspected. Postencephalitic parkinsonism has been linked to influenza, and other viral infections have also been suspected to relate to PD. We estimated the relationship between PD and both infections and possible vectors of infection (i.e., animal and human) in a population-based, case-control study in British Columbia, Canada. We recruited 403 cases detected by their use of antiparkinsonian medications and 405 controls from the registrants of the provincial universal health insurance plan. Severe influenza was associated with PD (odds ratio [OR]: 2.01; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.16–3.48), although this effect was attenuated when reports were restricted to those occurring 10 or more years before diagnosis. Childhood illnesses were inversely associated with PD, particularly red measles (OR: 0.65; 95% CI: 0.48–0.90). Several animal exposures were associated with PD, with statistically significant effects for cats (OR: 2.06; 95% CI: 1.09–3.92) and cattle (OR: 2.23; 95% CI: 1.22–4.09). Influenza infection may be associated with PD. The inverse relationships with childhood infections may suggest an increased risk with subclinical or asymptomatic childhood infections. Occupational exposure to animals may increase risk through transmission of infections or may indicate exposure to another agent of interest (e.g., bacterial endotoxin). © 2012 Movement Disorder Society

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