Occupational Asthma Reference

Kayumba AV, BrÄtveit M, Mashalla Y, Moen BE, Acute respiratory symptoms among sisal workers in Tanzania, Occup Med, 2007;57:290-293,
(Plain text: Kayumba AV, Bratveit M, Mashalla Y, Moen BE, Acute respiratory symptoms among sisal workers in Tanzania, Occup Med)

Keywords: Sisal, Tanzania, Epidemiology, prevalence, FEV1, rhinitis, byssinosis

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Akwilina Kayumba, Department of Physiology, Muhimbili University,  Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Akwilina Kayumba

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Few studies have focused on respiratory health effects among sisal workers.

To report on the prevalence of acute respiratory symptoms among sisal processors.

We interviewed 163 dust-exposed brushing and decortication workers and 31 low-exposed security workers from six sisal estates in Tanzania using a modified symptom score questionnaire to determine the prevalence of acute respiratory symptoms during work. Groups were compared using chi-square tests, Fisher's exact tests, t-tests and logistic regression, adjusting for confounding factors.

After the first working day of the week, 73% of the brushing workers reported dry cough, 66% sneezing, 65% productive cough, 63% running nose and 34% stuffy nose. Brushing workers had a significantly higher prevalence of these symptoms than decortication workers. Brushing and decortication workers had significantly more dry cough and sneezing than the control group of security workers, when adjusting for age, smoking, past respiratory diseases and residence.

Processors of sisal fibre have a high prevalence of acute respiratory symptoms. More detailed studies on work and health in sisal estates are needed, including exposure studies.

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