NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Incidence of occupational asthma (OA) in an adult managed care population.

Vollmer WM; O'Connor EA; Heumann MA; Breen VA; Vilinave JM; Frazier EA; Buist AS; Henneberger PK
Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2001 Apr; 163(5)(2)(Suppl):A161
Accurate information on the incidence of adult onset asthma and the role of occupation in asthma's development is limited. Although estimates of the magnitude of this problem are available from the Sentinel Event Notification System for Occupational Risks (SENSOR), recent studies suggest they may substantially underestimate the actual number of diagnosed cases. As part of a NIOSH-funded study, we are investigating the burden of OA among the approximately 254,000 members aged 15-55 of the Northwest Region of the Kaiser Permanente (KPNW) health maintenance organization. Using a validated algorithm, each month we review KPNW's electronic inpatient, emergency department, medication dispensing outpatient databases to exclude members with evidence of prevalent asthma. From the remaining pool, we identify evidence of new asthma, defined as people with both health care visits for asthma and orders for or dispensings of asthma medication. All cases so identified are confirmed by review of their medical record and administered a detailed telephone survey covering workplace exposures, symptoms, and home environment. The occupational data are reviewed by a minimum of two industrial hygienists to rate the potential asthmagenicity of the work environment. On the basis of these ratings and self-reported work-relatedness of asthma symptoms. incident cases are further classified as being occupationally related or not. Through the first seven months of this 12-month study, we have identified 532 confirmed cases of incident asthma, corresponding to a rate of 38/100,000 members. To date we have attempted to reach 423 of these individuals and have completed questionnaires on 197 (47%) of them. Twenty-one percent were classified as having occupationally related asthma, suggesting an overall OA incidence of 8/100,000.
Respiratory-system-disorders; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Occupational-hazards; Occupational-respiratory-disease; Industrial-health-programs; Industrial-hazards; Industrial-hygiene-programs; Respiratory-irritants; Pulmonary-disorders
Publication Date
Document Type
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Issue of Publication
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Disease and Injury; Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Source Name
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Abstracts of the American Thoracic Society 2001 International Conference, May 18-23, 2001, San Francisco, California
Performing Organization
Kaiser Foundation Research Institute
Page last reviewed: July 9, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division