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Occupational allergy and asthma among salt water fish processing workers.

Authors
Jeebhay-MF; Robins-TG; Miller-ME; Bateman-E; Smuts-M; Baatjies-R; Lopata-AL
Source
Am J Ind Med 2008 Dec; 51(12):899-910
NIOSHTIC No.
20034819
Abstract
Background: Fish processing is a common economic activity in Southern Africa. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and host determinants of allergic symptoms, allergic sensitization, bronchial hyper-responsiveness and asthma among workers processing saltwater fish. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted on 594 currently employed workers in two processing plants involved in pilchard canning and fishmeal processing. A modified European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS) questionnaire was used. Skin prick tests (SPT) used extracts of common airborne allergens, fresh fish (pilchard, anchovy, maasbanker, mackerel, red eye) and fishmeal. Spirometry and methacholine challenge tests (MCTs; tidal breathing method) used ATS guidelines. Results: Work-related ocular-nasal symptoms (26%) were more common than asthma symptoms (16%). The prevalence of atopy was 36%, while 7% were sensitized to fish species and 26% had NSBH (PC20 less than and equal to 8 mg/ml or greater than and equal to 12% increase in FEV1 post-bronchodilator). The prevalence of probable occupational asthma was 1.8% and fish allergic rhino-conjunctivitis 2.6%. Women were more likely to report work-related asthma symptoms (OR=1.94) and have NSBH (OR=3.09), while men were more likely to be sensitized to fish (OR=2.06) and have airway obstruction (OR=4.17). Atopy (OR=3.16) and current smoking (OR=2.37), but not habitual seafood consumption were associated with sensitization to fish. Conclusions: Based on comparison with previous published studies, the prevalence of occupational asthma to saltwater fish is lower than due to shellfish. The gendered distribution of work and exposures in fish processing operations together with atopy and cigarette smoking are important determinants of occupational allergy and asthma.
Keywords
Bronchial-asthma; Allergies; Fishing-industry; Fish-meal; Food-processing; Food-processing-workers; Airway-obstruction; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Skin-tests; Spirometry; Questionnaires; Methacholines; Respiratory-system-disorders; Smoking; Men; Women; Author Keywords: fish processing; occupational allergy; work-related asthma; atopy; smoking; gender
Contact
Mohamed F. Jeebhay, Occupational and Environmental Health Research Unit, School of Public Health and Family Medicine, University of CapeTown, Room 4.44, Fourth Level, Falmouth Building, Anzio Road, Observatory,Western Cape 7925, South Africa
CODEN
AJIMD8
Publication Date
20081201
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
mohamed.jeebhay@uct.ac.za
Funding Type
Grant
Fiscal Year
2009
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-R01-OH-004038
Issue of Publication
12
ISSN
0271-3586
SIC Code
NAICS-1141
Source Name
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
State
MI
Performing Organization
University of Michigan
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