So is it really possible that pig farmers would be more likely to have their appendix removed than let’s say, a banker or fast food worker? Well according to a 1991 study by a scientist from Finland it is.
Markku Seiru conducted a study in 1991 concerning pig farmers and abattoir workers (Slaughter House Workers). His study was to compare the rate of appendectomies among this group of workers as opposed to the general working public.
His results were quite interesting. Seiru found that pig farmers were approximately 2.5 times more likely to have their appendix removed than workers in a different field. Even more surprising, abattoir workers were found to be even a higher risk at 4 times that of any other type of worker.
Why Pig Farmers and Abattoir Workers are Higher Risk for Appendectomies
So you’re probably wondering why this would be possible. This is all due to a bacterium called Yersinia enterocolitica. Which is responsible for food contamination and it causes a disease known as yersiniosis.
Yersiniosis is normally caused from eating meat that is under cooked. But it may also be caused from consuming unpasteurized milk or contaminated water.
The main symptoms of yersiniosis include diarrhea, fever as well as abdominal pain. Normally yersiniosis can be treated with antibiotics, while milder cases may just need to run their course without requiring any treatment. So it’s not anything super serious but….
These symptoms are also quite common in appendicitis. Because of this, it’s not uncommon for patients to undergo unnecessary appendectomies. Pretty horrifying right? Can you imagine if you had a simple sickness that could be treated with antibiotics and wound up having your appendix cut out when you didn’t have to!!!
How common is Yersinia Enterocolitica Bacteria
Well…At the time of these studies, Yersinia enterocolitica was found in approximately 35% of the pigs tested in Finland. That’s a pretty alarming number if you ask me. But this would definitely help explain the high rate of appendectomies amongst farmers and abattoir workers.
It’s only because these groups of workers were much more likely to come into contact with yersinia bacterium. This would also make them more likely to have an appendectomy due to misdiagnosis.
Just a little tid bit of interesting information for those of you that have heard about this and wondered why.
I’d love to hear what you think about this and if you have any more information to help further this discussion please feel free to leave it in the comments below.