Dermatological illnesses of immigrant poultry-processing workers in North Carolina

Arch Environ Occup Health. 2005 May-Jun;60(3):165-9. doi: 10.3200/AEOH.60.3.165-169.


The authors designed this study to assess skin ailments among male Latino poultry-processing workers in one plant in North Carolina. Because conditions in poultry plants expose workers to multiple agents affecting the skin, the number of skin ailments was expected to be high. A visual skin examination was conducted by a single board-certified dermatologist for 25 male workers. Dermatological Life Quality Index scores and self-reported skin treatment data were obtained through interviews. Each worker had at least one dermatological diagnosis. Infections were most common (onychomycosis, 76%; tinea pedis, 72%), followed by inflammatory diagnoses (acne, 64%). No workers had sought medical treatment. Dermatological Life Quality Index scores indicated impaired quality of life. Worker self-reports were not strongly associated with dermatologist diagnoses. Skin diseases are common among poultry workers and impact workers' quality of life; reasons for lack of medical care should be investigated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / epidemiology
  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / etiology*
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / adverse effects
  • Animals
  • Emigration and Immigration*
  • Food-Processing Industry*
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Male
  • North Carolina / epidemiology
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Poultry Products*
  • Quality of Life
  • Skin Diseases / epidemiology
  • Skin Diseases / etiology*


  • Air Pollutants, Occupational