Occupational Asthma Reference

Fuortes LJ, Weih L, Pomrehn P, Thorne PS, Jones M, Burmeister L, Merchant JA, Prospective epidemiologic evaluation of laboratory animal allergy among university employees, Am J Ind Med, 1997;32:665-669,

Keywords: laboratory animal, smoking, oa

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Peter S Thorne, Iowa Peter S Thorne

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OBJECTIVES: Evaluation of incidence and risk factors for development of laboratory animal allergy (LAA) among new hires previously unexposed to lab animals.

METHODS: Baseline, 6-month and yearly follow-up, questionnaires, pulmonary functions, and methacholine challenges were collected from 98 never-before occupationally exposed and 90 control laboratory researchers. The two groups were followed between 6 and 36 months.

RESULTS: At baseline, there were no differences in atopy, pulmonary functions, or methacholine reactivity between the two groups. The incidence of work-related asthma was comparable in the two groups, approximately 2.5% at 6 months and 4.5% at 24 months. The rate of decline in FEV1 was statistically significantly greater in the animal-exposed than nonanimal-exposed workers, and animal-exposed smokers' FEV1 declined significantly more rapidly than any other groups'.

CONCLUSION: Despite the low incidence of laboratory-animal allergy and work-related asthma in this group, this study corroborates previously described interaction between smoking and animal exposure.

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