Prevalence of Occupational Allergic Diseases in Workers Involved in Animal Production


Affiliations

  • Instituto Politecnico de Lisboa, H&TRC – Health and Technology Research Center, ESTeSL – Lisbon School of Health Technology, Lisboa, Portugal
  • Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, Centro de Investigação em Saude Publica, Escola Nacional de Saude Publica, Lisboa, Portugal

Abstract

Background: Working in swine and poultry farms is described as a harmful job to the workers, because it has been shown that is capable of leading to occupational asthma and other allergic diseases. Objective: The main objective of this study is the epidemiological characterization of occupational allergic diseases in swine and poultry Portuguese farms. Methods: About 37 (46.3%) workers from 7 swine and 43 (53.7%) from 7 poultry farms participated in this study. The data was collected through a questionnaire the European Community Respiratory Health Survey under the form of interview. Results: The prevalence of asthma was 10%. About 50.0% of the asthmatics had occupational asthma and 37.5% had work-aggravated asthma. Among non-asthmatic workers, it was reported wheezing associated with dyspnea (5.6%), dyspnea after strenuous activity (11.1%) and persistent cough (23.6%). The prevalence of allergic rhinitis was 20%, of which 56.2% of the cases had the 1st crisis after the beginning of work on farms. Among workers without medical diagnosis of rhinitis, 21.9% reported the presence of sneezing, rhinorrhea or nasal congestion without being constipated. There were skin allergies in 31.2% of the farmers, of which 72% were work-related symptoms. Conclusions: Findings of this study suggest that these farms develop activities that promote contact with harmful agents with influence on workers' health and their workers completely devalue the disease symptoms they present.

Keywords

Hypersensitivity, Public Health, Occupational Medicine, Occupational Exposure

Subject Discipline

Occupational Health

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