Juan Manuel Sanhueza Frigolett

Doctor of Philosophy, (Science)
Study Completed: 2016
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Occupational Leptospirosis in New Zealand

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Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease that commonly affects people who work in close contact with animals such as abattoir workers, farmers and veterinarians. Human infection can result in a severe disease and death but more commonly causes mild influenza-like illness that can be misdiagnosed and therefore not always treated effectively. Human leptospirosis was thought to be under-reported in New Zealand but no data was available to support this. Mr Sanhueza investigated the frequency of infection in veterinarians and farmers in New Zealand, identified risk factors for infection in these occupational groups, and evaluated vaccine efficacy in animals. Using this information and results from previous investigations, he estimated the under-reporting rate, the national public health burden, the financial cost due to leptospirosis and the cost of vaccinating animals. His research led to the development of best practice procedures for the control of leptospirosis in New Zealand.

Professor Cord Heuer
Professor Peter Wilson
Dr Julie Collins-Emerson
Professor Jackie Benschop