Occupational Asthma Reference

Radon K, Windstetter D, Eckart J, Dressel H, Leitritz L, Reichert J, Schmid M, Praml G, Schosser M, von Mutius E, Nowak D., Farming exposure in childhood, exposure to markers of infections and the development of atopy in rural subjects, Clin Exp Allergy, 2004;34:1178-1183,

Keywords: farm, atopy, asthma, incidence, child

Known Authors

Dennis Nowak, Institute fur Arbeits, Munich Dennis Nowak

Holger Dressel, Institute of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Munich Holger Dressel

Joerg Reichert, Networm Joerg Reichert

George Praml, Institute of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Munich George Praml

Katja Radon, Ludwig Maximillian University, Munich Katja Radon

Erica von Mutius, Munich Erica von Mutius

Erika von Mutius, Helmholtz Center Munich Erika von Mutius

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BACKGROUND: Within the context of the hygiene hypothesis, we aimed to study the potential association between farming-related risk factors and Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) as well as Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) seropositivity. METHODS: The study included questionnaire data and serum samples of 321 young adults living in a rural environment. Serum samples were analysed for specific IgE to a common panel of aeroallergens (SX1) as well as IgG against T. gondii and H. pylori. RESULTS: Regular contact with animal stables before the age of 3 years (odds ratio (OR) (95% confidence interval): 2.0 [1.0; 4.0]) and unpasteurized milk consumption at age 6 years (1.8 [1.0; 3.3]) were the strongest risk factors for T. gondii infection. None of the farming-related factors were significantly associated with H. pylori infection. Current consumption of raw farm milk was not significantly associated with H. pylori infection (2.1 [0.8; 5.3]). Regular contact with animal houses before the age of 7 years was the strongest predictor for atopy (0.49 [0.26-0.96]). The reduction in risk could not be further decreased by any other factor under consideration. After adjustment for animal house contact, the OR for atopy was decreased by raw milk consumption and H. pylori infection in an additive manner. CONCLUSION: Exposure to farming environments in childhood might predict T. gondii seropositivity in rural subjects. Nevertheless, the strongest predictor for atopy in rural subjects seems to be regular contact with farm animals. Whether T. gondii infection is an intermediate factor in the association between farm contact and atopy needs to be confirmed in larger studies.

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