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Clinics

versão impressa ISSN 1807-5932

Resumo

FERRAZ, Erica et al. Laboratory animals and respiratory allergies: The prevalence of allergies among laboratory animal workers and the need for prophylaxis. Clinics [online]. 2013, vol.68, n.6, pp.750-759. ISSN 1807-5932.  http://dx.doi.org/10.6061/clinics/2013(06)05.

OBJECTIVE:

Subjects exposed to laboratory animals are at a heightened risk of developing respiratory and allergic diseases. These diseases can be prevented by simple measures such as the use of personal protective equipment. We report here the primary findings of the Laboratory Animals and Respiratory Allergies Study regarding the prevalence of allergic diseases among laboratory animal workers, the routine use of preventive measures in laboratories and animal facilities, and the need for prevention programs.

METHODS:

Animal handlers and non-animal handlers from 2 Brazilian universities (University of São Paulo and State University of Campinas) answered specific questionnaires to assess work conditions and symptoms. These subjects also underwent spirometry, a bronchial challenge test with mannitol, and skin prick tests for 11 common allergens and 5 occupational allergens (rat, mouse, guinea pig, hamster, and rabbit).

RESULTS:

Four hundred fifty-five animal handlers (32±10 years old [mean±SD], 209 men) and 387 non-animal handlers (33±11 years old, 121 men) were evaluated. Sensitization to occupational allergens was higher among animal handlers (16%) than non-animal handlers (3%, p<0.01). Accessibility to personal protective equipment was measured at 85% (median, considering 73 workplaces of the animal handler group). Nineteen percent of the animal handlers indicated that they wear a respirator at all times while handling animals or working in the animal room, and only 25% of the animal handlers had received an orientation about animal-induced allergies, asthma, or rhinitis.

CONCLUSION:

In conclusion, our data indicate that preventive programs are necessary. We suggest providing individual advice to workers associated with institutional programs to promote a safer work environment.

Palavras-chave : Laboratory Animal Allergy; Animal Workers; Occupational Allergens; Asthma; Occupational Health; Rhinitis.

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