Immune, Infectious and Dermal Disease Prevention Program

Updated April 4, 2022

woman cleaning, woman with mask boy with tissue, man in manufacture plant

The Immune, Infectious, and Dermal Disease Prevention Program works with outside partners in industry, labor, trade associations, professional organizations, and academia to reduce the incidence of immune, infectious, and dermal diseases associated with workplace exposures.

Featured Items

New Resources: Understand and Prevent Work-related Histoplasmosis
NIOSH recently released new resources for employers and workers with information needed to understand and prevent work-related histoplasmosis in the United States. The new webpage and fact sheets can help readers understand what histoplasmosis is, to recognize activities that might expose them to Histoplasma, and to protect themselves from exposure. Visit the NIOSH Histoplasmosis webpage to learn more.

  • Histoplasmosis is an infection caused by a fungus called Histoplasma. The fungus lives in the environment, particularly in soil that contains large amounts of bird or bat droppings.
  • In areas where Histoplasma is common, people who work in construction, demolition, and extraction occupations and in agriculture and forestry industries may be at higher risk for histoplasmosis.

Occupational immune, infectious, and dermal diseases are some of the most common illnesses that affect workers in the United States. Immune dysfunction includes inflammation, allergy, suppression, or autoimmune responses following exposure in the work environment. Infectious agents are organisms that are capable of producing infection or infectious disease. They include bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites. Dermal diseases are caused by chemicals that enter the body through the skin and injure individual organs or groups of organs.

The Immune, Infectious, and Dermal Disease Prevention (IID) Program conducts research to better understand the impact of occupational exposures to chemical, biological, or infectious agents. New occupational hazards continue to emerge and require characterization to better understand the nature and magnitude of their effects on the body. Therefore it is critical that we understand the biological mechanisms that cause or worsen immune, infectious and dermal diseases. Specific understanding of mechanisms allows occupational safety and health professionals to develop appropriate intervention and prevention strategies.

Research Priorities

The IID Program has selected research priorities on the basis of burden, need, and impact and collaborated with other NIOSH research programs to write research goals included in the NIOSH Strategic Plan for FYs 2019-2024. The priority areas of IID research include:

  • Among agriculture workers, reduce skin exposure to pesticides and as well as infectious disease spread between humans and animals
  • Reduce infectious disease transmission and chemical exposures that contribute to immune diseases among healthcare and social assistance workers
  • Reduce exposures that contribute to immune diseases among manufacturing workers
  • Prevent hazardous dermal exposures among oil and gas extraction workers
  • Reduce infectious disease transmission and dermal exposure to illicit drugs among public safety workers
  • Reduce exposures that contribute to immune diseases among services workers

The IID Program Performance One-Pager (PPOP) offers a snapshot of IID’s priorities, strategies used to make progress towards priorities, recent accomplishments, and upcoming work.

To learn more

Resources and Topic Pages
Learn more about immune, infectious, and dermal diseases using the links below.

Occupational immune diseases are some of the most common illnesses that affect workers in the United States. Among the most common is work-related asthma. Over 300 known or suspected substances in the workplace can cause or worsen asthma. Indoor environmental quality impacts occupational immune diseases, as does the presence second hand tobacco smoke in the workplace. Nail technicians and dry cleaning workers in particular are exposed to chemical agents that can cause allergic disease.

Occupational infectious diseases can occur from other humans, animals, or the environment and can occur in various occupations and industries. Examples include COVID-19, avian and seasonal influenza, bloodborne infectious disease (HIV, Hepatitis B and C) and mosquito-borne diseases.  Healthcare workers, laboratory workers, and animal workers are at high risk of contact with infectious agents.

Dermal, or skin, diseases can take different forms, such as a rash caused by skin irritation or allergies (contact dermatitis), skin cancers, and skin infections. Learn more about skin exposures and effects.

NORA Council

The IID Program helps lead the NORA Immune, Infectious and Dermal Disease Prevention Council, which brings together individuals and organizations to share information, form partnerships, and promote adoption and dissemination of solutions that work. The council seeks to facilitate the most important research, understand the most effective intervention strategies, and learn how to implement those strategies to achieve sustained improvements in workplace practice. The final version of the research agenda for the IID Council can be found here.


Contact Stacey Anderson, IID Program Coordinator, at with questions.

Page last reviewed: April 4, 2022, 10:30 AM