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Occupational infections are human diseases caused by work-associated exposure to microbial agents, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. It has been hypothesized that certain infectious diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, and cholera will become more prevalent with climate change. An infection is distinguished as occupational by some aspect of the work that involves contact with a biologically active organism. Occupational infection can occur following contact with infected persons or surfaces, as in the case of health care workers; with infected animal or human tissue, secretions, or excretions, as in laboratory workers; with asymptomatic or unknown contagious humans, as happens during business travel; or with infected animals, as in agriculture. See Table 20–1 for work-related pathogens by specific job title.

Table 20–1.Work-related pathogens by specific job title or broader occupational groups.

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