Occupational Asthma Reference

Hannaford-Turner K, Elder D, Sim MR, Abramson MJ, Johnson AR, Yates DH, Surveillance of Australian workplace Based Respiratory Events (SABRE) in New South Wales, Occup Med, 2010;60:376-382,

Keywords: Australia, Sabre, surveillance, occupational asthma

Known Authors

Michael Abramson, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia Michael Abramson

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Background The Surveillance of Australian workplace Based Respiratory Events (SABRE) New South Wales (NSW) scheme is a voluntary notification scheme established to determine the incidence of occupational lung diseases in NSW Australia.

Aims Data presented in this paper summarize the last 7 years of reporting to SABRE (June 2001 to December 2008).

Methods Every 2 months, participating occupational physicians, respiratory physicians and general practitioners (accredited by the NSW WorkCover Authority) reported new cases of occupational lung disease seen in their practices. Data collected include gender, age, causal agent and the occupations and industries believed responsible. Estimated incidence was calculated for each disease.

Results Three thousand six hundred and fifty-four cases were notified to the scheme, consisting of 3856 diagnoses. Most of the cases were males (76%). Pleural plaques [1218 (28%)] were the most frequently reported condition, followed by mesothelioma [919 (24%)]. Silicosis [90 (2%)] and occupational asthma [OA; 89 (2%)] were the most frequently reported non-asbestos-related diseases. Estimated rates for mesothelioma, diffuse pleural thickening (DPT) and OA were 83, 83 and 5 cases per million employed males per year, respectively. Trades such as carpenters and electricians associated with the building industry, electricity supply and asbestos product manufacture were the most common occupations and industries reported.

Conclusions Asbestos-related diseases are the most frequently reported conditions to SABRE NSW. The very low incidence of OA for NSW most likely reflects under-diagnosis as well as under-reporting. Occupational lung disease is still occurring in NSW despite current preventative strategies. The SABRE scheme currently provides the only available information in this area.

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Occupational asthma uncommon
89 cases, 40 RADS, 7 unspecified and 42 sensitisation
Bakers 22
Isocyanates 16
Solvents 10
Wood dusts 6
Chlorine 5
Dust 5 (includes a truck driver)
Paint fumes 4
Animals 3

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