Background: Grape farmers are exposed to a variety of agents capable of inducing occupational skin disease. We conducted a study to measure the prevalence of skin symptoms and work-related skin symptoms among grape farmers in the Malevisi region of Crete and to provide data on associated risk factors.
Methods: One hundred twenty grape farmers and 100 controls participated in the study. The protocol consisted of a questionnaire, skin prick tests for 16 common allergens, and measurement of specific IgE antibodies against 8 allergens.
Results: Self-reported itchy rash (OR, 2.31; 95%CI, 1.10-4.84, P<0.05) within the last 12 months, and work-related itchy rash (OR, 4.08; 95%CI, 1.01-20.33, P<0.05) were significantly higher in grape farmers than in controls, after adjusting for age and sex. Sensitization to pollens (OR, 4.20; 95% CI, 1.41-12.82, P<0.01) and allergic rhinitis (OR, 3.06; 95% CI, 1.21-8.28, P<0.05) were found to be significantly associated with self-reported itchy rash in the grape farmers group.
Conclusions: Grape farmers reported skin symptoms more frequently than non-exposed controls, and IgE-mediated sensitization to pollens was found to be significantly associated with the reported symptoms. Further studies are needed to evaluate the impact of specific occupational agents on skin diseases among grape farmers.
Copyright (c) 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.