Two year follow-up of a garbage collector with allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA)

Am J Ind Med. 2000 Apr;37(4):438-42. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0274(200004)37:4<438::aid-ajim14>;2-a.


Background: Separate collection of biodegradable garbage and recyclable waste is expected to become mandatory in some western countries. A growing number of persons engaged in garbage collection and separation might become endangered by high loads of bacteria and fungi. Case history and examination A 29 year old garbage collector involved in emptying so-called biological garbage complained of dyspnea, fever, and flu-like symptoms during work beginning in the summer of 1992. Chest x-ray showed streaky shadows near both hili reaching into the upper regions. IgE- and IgG-antibodies (CAP, Pharmacia, Sweden) were strongly positive for Aspergillus fumigatus with 90.5 kU/L and 186%, respectively. Total-IgE was also strongly elevated with 5430 kU/L. Bronchial challenge testing with commercially available Aspergillus fumigatus extract resulted in an immediate-type asthmatic reaction. Two years later he was still symptomatic and antibodies persisted at lower levels.

Conclusions: Our diagnosis was allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) including asthmatic responses as well as hypersensitivity pneumonitis (extrinsic allergic alveolitis) due to exposure to moldy household waste. A growing number of persons engaged in garbage collection and handling are exposed and at risk to develop sensitization to fungi due to exposure to dust of biodegradable waste. Further studies are necessary to show if separate collection of biodegradable waste increases the health risks due to exposure to bacteria and fungi in comparison to waste collection without separation.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alveolitis, Extrinsic Allergic / etiology
  • Aspergillosis, Allergic Bronchopulmonary / etiology*
  • Aspergillus fumigatus / immunology
  • Asthma / etiology
  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Conservation of Natural Resources
  • Dyspnea / etiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Garbage*
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / etiology
  • Immunoglobulin E / analysis
  • Immunoglobulin G / analysis
  • Male
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Waste Management*


  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin E