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Occupational asthma and rhinitis among egg-processing workers.
Pinkerton-LE; Massoudi-M; Bernstein-D; Biagini-R; Hull-RD; Ruder-A; Brown-M; Boeniger-M; Ward-E
J Allergy Clin Immunol 1997 Jan; 99(1)(Suppl 2):S501
We conducted a cross-sectional study evaluating the respiratory and immunologic effects of egg proteins among 42 egg-processing workers and 33 unexposed workers. Egg-processing workers are exposed to aerosolized egg proteins and potentially exposed to chlorine. Respiratory and nasal symptoms were assessed using a standardized questionnaire. Occupational asthma (OA) was defined as work-related respiratory symptoms with a 20% decrement in peak expiratory flow rate. Egg-related OA was defined as OA with a positive skin prick test to at least one egg protein. Rhinitis was defined as reporting 2 of the following 3 symptoms: itchy, runny nose with or without sneezing; nasal stutfiness; and itchy, watery eyes. The prevalence of atopy (positive skin prick test to two or more common aeroallergens) was 24% among both egg-exposed and unexposed workers. Fifteen (36%) of the egg-exposed and none of the unexposed workers had a positive skin prick test to at least one egg protein (p<0.001). Among the 15 workers sensitized to eggs, 13 (87%) had a positive skin prick test to ovalbumin, 8 (53%) to ovamucoid, 7 (47%) to lysozyme and 9 (60%) to conalbumin. Nine (60%) of 15 sensitized workers were atopic compared to only 1 (4%) of 27 unsensitized egg-exposed workers (p<0.001). Among workers sensitized to eggs, 5 (33%) had egg-related OA; 2 of these also had rhinitis. Three (20%) had rhinitis without egg-related OA. Seven (17%) of the egg-exposed workers had OA. Two (7%) of 27 unsensitized egg-exposed workers had OA compared to 5 (33%) of 15 sensitized workers ( p = 0.08). The overall prevalence of egg-related OA among this group of egg-exposed workers was 12% compared to 5% to 10% in previous studies. Over one-half of sensitized workers had egg-related OA and/or rhinitis. Although atopic workers appear to be at higher risk of sensitization to egg proteins the prevalence of sensitization among nonatopic workers was still substantial (6 of 32).
Sensitization; Sensitivity-testing; Occupational-exposure; Occupational-respiratory-disease; Immunological-tests; Immune-reaction; Respiratory-irritants; Respiratory-system-disorders; Pulmonary-system-disorders
Issue of Publication
Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division