Occupational Asthma Reference
Radon K, Garz S, Riess A, Koops F, Monso E, Weber C, Danuser B, Iversen M, Opravil U, Donham K, Hartung J, Pedersen S, Nowak D,
Respiratory diseases in European farmers-II. Part of the European farmers' project,
BACKGROUND: The aim of the European Farmers' Project was to estimate the prevalence of respiratory diseases in farmers across Europe. Furthermore, risk factors for respiratory symptoms in different parts of agricultural production should be assessed.
METHODS: In the first part of the study, 7496 farmers from four European countries answered a written questionaire. Of these, 229 were visited at their farms in the second part of the survey. On site, spirometry, allergy tests, as well exposure measurements were performed.
RESULTS: Farmers with animal production had a significantly lower prevalence of allergic diseases than the general population. In contrast, the prevalence of chronic phlegm was higher in animal farmers. Organic dust toxic syndrome (ODTS) was a major predictor of chronic bronchitis. It was indicated that allergens found in the working environment could be transfered to the living environment of the farmer. Poor ventilation as well as high temperatures inside the animal buildings were shown to have a negative impact on respiratory symptoms and lung function parameters.
CONCLUSION: Animal farmers are at high risk of chronic bronchitis. Intervention studies on the efficacy of different types of ventilation are now warranted. Furthermore, prospective studies on the associaton between ODTS and COPD should be done.
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