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Sarcoidosis, asthma, and asthma-like symptoms among occupants of a historically water-damaged office building.
Laney-AS; Cragin-LA; Blevins-LZ; Sumner-AD; Cox-Ganser-JM; Kreiss-K; Moffatt-SG; Lohff-CJ
Indoor Air 2009 Feb; 19(1):83-90
Sarcoidosis is a granulomatous disease of unknown etiology with evidence of association with exposure to microbial agents. In June 2006, we investigated a sarcoidosis cluster among office workers in a water-damaged building. In the course of the investigation, we became aware of a high rate of respiratory complaints including asthma and asthma-like symptoms. We conducted case finding for physician-diagnosed sarcoidosis and asthma and administered a health questionnaire survey and pulmonary function tests (PFTs) to consenting occupants. We compared prevalence ratios (PRs) to the Environmental Protection Agency's Building Assessment Survey and Evaluation study (BASE) and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). We identified six sarcoidosis cases. The current building prevalence is 2206 cases/100,000 population, elevated, compared with the US population range of <1-40 cases/100,000. Of current occupants, 77% (105) participated in the health questionnaire survey and 64% (87) in PFTs. Physician-diagnosed asthma was elevated, compared with the US adult population. Adult asthma incidence was 3.3/1000 person-years during the period before building occupancy and 11.5/1000 person-years during the period after building occupancy. Comparisons with US office workers (BASE) yielded elevated PRs for shortness of breath [PR, 9.6; 95% confidence interval (CI), 6.1-15.2], wheeze (PR, 9.1; 95% CI 5.6-14.6), and chest tightness (PR, 5.1; 95% CI 2.8-9.0). PFT results supported reports of respiratory symptoms and diagnoses. Based on our findings building occupants were relocated.
Respiratory-system-disorders; Respiratory-infections; Bronchial-asthma; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Statistical-analysis; Epidemiology; Indoor-environmental-quality; Indoor-air-pollution; Author Keywords: Sarcoidosis; Asthma; Building-related symptoms; Office workers; Indoor environment; Surveillance
A. S. Laney, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Surveillance Branch DRDS, 1095 Willowdale Rd. MS HG900, 2 Morgantown, WV 26505, USA
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Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division