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Work related symptoms, sensitisation, and estimated exposure in workers not previously exposed to laboratory rats.
Cullinan P; Lowson D; Nieuwenhuijsen MJ; Gordon S; Tee RD; Venables KM; McDonalds JC; Newman-Taylor-AJ
Occup Environ Med 1994 Sep; 51(9):589-592
A 7 year longitudinal study was undertaken of workers at high risk of developing occupational asthma due to contact with laboratory animals. This report concerned workers at three institutions specializing in small animal research in the United Kingdom, using almost exclusively rats. Surveys were conducted with 323 subjects. Questionnaires were completed by 315 subjects and skin prick tests by 295. Of the 315 subjects, 98 reported at least one work related symptom. Eye and nose symptoms were the most frequently reported, followed by skin and then by chest symptoms. There was little consistent evidence of a relation between work related symptoms and exposure intensity at the time of survey. Positive skin tests to rat urinary aeroallergen (RUA) were significantly more common in high exposure categories of either dust or aeroallergen. The relations were stronger in atopic subjects but were unrelated to smoking. Positive skin tests to rat urinary extract were also more frequent with increased exposure. This was true of smokers and nonsmokers. The authors conclude that there was a strong association between work related symptoms and specific sensitization, and that urinary proteins may be the primary agent responsible for laboratory animal allergy.
Risk-factors; Respiratory-system-disorders; Epidemiology; Laboratory-animals; Lung-function; Rodents; Occupational-exposure; Laboratory-workers; Biological-material
Issue of Publication
Occupational and Environmental Medicine
University of California - Davis
Page last reviewed: October 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division