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Work-related allergies in insect-raising facilities.

MMWR 1984 Aug; 33(31):448-454
Aspects of allergies occurring in insect raising facilities (SIC- facilities indicate that 25 percent have had current or past symptoms consistent with allergic reactions related to work. The most prevalent symptoms are sneezing or runny nose, followed by eye irritation, skin irritation or rash, cough, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Of the entomologists and laboratory technicians working directly with the insects, 33 percent report symptoms suggestive of work related allergy, as compared to the overall 9 percent incidence reported by workers who had little or no contact with insects. Symptoms begin within 0.5 to 4.5 hours after arrival at work, and improvement is seen in the evening after leaving work in 66 percent of afflicted workers. Improvement or complete resolution is reported during weekends and vacations by 74 percent of afflicted workers. Treatment has been prescribed for 83 percent of the 83 workers who sought medical help. Twenty-two percent either stopped working in the area or transferred to another unit. Causes of the symptoms are airborne insect materials, followed by direct contact with the insect or insect part, insect stings and insect bites. The most frequently implicated insects are moths and butterflies. Two representative case reports from the large survey are detailed. The authors conclude that employees of insect raising facilities can be exposed to various potentially sensitizing airborne particulates. Several measures are needed to prevent this sensitization.
NIOSH-Author; Occupational-medicine; Industrial-medicine; Allergic-reactions; Medical-surveys; Occupational-exposure; Work-environment; Laboratory-workers; Medical-treatment; Airborne-particles; Aerosol-particles
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Fiscal Year
Issue of Publication
Source Name
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division