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Dermatologist-diagnosed skin diseases among immigrant Latino poultry processors and other manual workers in North Carolina, USA.

Pichardo-Geisinger R; Muñoz-Ali D; Arcury TA; Blocker JN; Grzywacz JG; Mora DC; Chen H; Schulz MR; Feldman SR; Quandt SA
Int J Dermatol 2013 Nov; 52(11):1342-1348
BACKGROUND: Immigrant Latino workers represent an expanding workforce in rural areas of the USA, where their employment is concentrated in occupations such as poultry processing that entail chemical, infectious, and mechanical skin exposures. Occupation-related skin illnesses in this vulnerable population are not well characterized. OBJECTIVES: This study was designed to describe the prevalences of skin diseases among immigrant Latino poultry processors and other manual workers in North Carolina. METHODS: Community-based sampling was used to recruit 742 immigrant Latino workers, 518 of whom underwent a physical examination supervised by a board-certified dermatologist. The presence or absence of skin disease on the face, neck, arms, hands, and feet was recorded. RESULTS: Workers ranged in age from 18 years to 68 years. Slightly over half of the sample were male (52.6%). Poultry workers represented 55.8% of the study sample. Infectious skin diseases were the most common diagnosis, present in 52.3% of workers. Inflammatory skin diseases were present in 28.2% and pigmentary disorders in 21.8% of workers. The most common skin conditions were tinea pedis (37.6%), onychomycosis (31.9%), scars (13.7%), acne (11.8%), and melasma (9.3%). Age, sex, first language, and work as a poultry processor accounted in part for the prevalence of these diseases. CONCLUSIONS: Several skin diseases are highly prevalent in immigrant Latino workers and may relate to work environment. These may impair the quality of life of these workers and predispose them to further illness.
Dermatology; Employee-exposure; Repetitive-work; Poultry-industry; Poultry-workers; Food-processing-workers; Hand-injuries; Extremities; Fibrous-bodies; Skin-disorders; Skin-exposure; Cumulative-trauma; Skin; Materials-handling; Manual-materials-handling; Case-studies; Cumulative-trauma-disorders; Animals; Demographic-characteristics; Racial-factors; Age-factors; Sex-factors; Statistical-analysis
Sara A. Quandt, PhD, Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, Division of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Medical Center Boulevard, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA
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International Journal of Dermatology
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Wake Forest University Health Sciences - Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division