Occupational Asthma Reference

Nirarach K, Chaiear N, Kawamatawong T, Krisorn P, Burge PS, Proportion of workers having work-related asthma symptoms in a cassava factory, Nakhon Ratchasima province, Thailand, Asia-Pacific Journal of Science and Tech, 2020;25:APST-25-02-08,

Keywords: Thailand, OA, ep, cs, cassava, FEV1, Tapioca, PEF, Oasys

Known Authors

Sherwood Burge, Oasys Sherwood Burge

Naesinee Chaiear, Khon Kaen University, Thailand Naesinee Chaiear

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Introduction: Flour dust is one of work-related asthma (WRA) allergens. Few researches have been done on WRA symptoms in workers exposed to cassava starch.
Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the proportion of WRA symptoms and definite WRA in a cassava factory.

Methodology: We conducted a descriptive study in which a sample of 148 employees was identified at a cassava factory in Nakhon Ratchasima. All had worked 6 months or longer. The study included: 1) screening for asthma-like symptoms using a modified ECRHS questionnaire; 2) screening for WRA symptoms using a questionnaire and physical examination by an occupational medicine doctor; and, 3) diagnosis confirmation using serial peak expiratory flow interpreted by OASYS-2 software. Descriptive statistics were used to assess the findings.

Results: The response rate was 87.2% (129/148)—males comprised 72.1% (93/129) of the sample. The proportion of asthma-like symptoms was 58.1% (75/129). Among 129, WRA symptoms was 11.6% (95%CI: 6.6, 17.3) and definite WRA was 3.1% (95%CI: 0.7, 6.5). In the 15 cases of WRA symptoms, 60% had a job task with high exposure to cassava starch. In cases of respiratory symptoms, most (86.7%) had upper respiratory symptoms and all had lower respiratory symptoms. Cough and dyspnea were the most common lower respiratory symptoms (each was 60%) followed by chest tightness (53.3%) and wheezing (26.7%).

Conclusion: WRA symptoms and definite WRA constituted 11.6% and 3.1% in a cassava starch factory, respectively. The results showed a consistence with previous studies in developing nations. Cassava starch, like wheat flour, may cause WRA.

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