22 October 2018

Link between proximity to goat farms and increased risk of pneumonia confirmed

People living in the vicinity of goat farms have a higher-than-average risk of developing pneumonia. This includes those residing within a two-kilometre radius of a goat farm. The correlation had previously been suggested by an earlier study, which was conducted in 2007-2013. The latest study confirms these findings for the years 2014-2016 in the east of the province of North Brabant and the north of the province of Limburg. Both studies were carried out by NIVEL in collaboration with IRAS/UU, WUR and the RIVM.

Causes of link between pneumonia and proximity to goat farms unknown

The causes of this correlation between living near a goat farm and having an increased risk of contracting pneumonia are not yet known and will be the subject of further research. Studies are also underway to determine whether there is an increased risk of pneumonia for people living nearby  goat farms in other provinces as well. These studies are examining the areas around goat farms as well as poultry farms. In the new study, the previously detected link between increased pneumonia risk and living near a poultry farm could only be confirmed for the year 2014.

The study

The recently published report is the result of research conducted by the Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research (NIVEL), Utrecht University’s Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS), Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and a division of the Livestock Farming and Local Resident Health (VGO) programme of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). The analyses drew upon data from electronic patient files of doctors in the east of the province of North Brabant and the north of the province of Limburg. The study was carried out on behalf of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. It is the first in a series of sub-studies being conducted as part of the VGO3 programme.