OCCUPATION study (OCCUPationl asthma: a naTIONal based study): a survey on occupational asthma awareness among Italian allergists

Eur Ann Allergy Clin Immunol. 2014 Jan;46(1):26-9.


Occupational asthma (OA) is the most common work-related respiratory disease. Case identification still remains underperformed. The present survey aimed at investigating the awareness about OA among Italian allergists. 538 Italian Allergists completed a web anonymous questionnaire concerning: patient profile, occupational history, disease features, diagnostic work-up, causal agents, management after diagnosis. 80 cases were registered by 14 members (2.4%). Patients were mostly between 30 and 62 years old; noteworthy, 19% were between 18 and 30. All the patients had a concomitant rhinitis, usually preceding asthma onset. Bakers, hairdressers and healthcare workers were more frequently involved. Diagnostic process included: skin prick test (85%), stop/resume test (57%), specific IgE dosage for occupational allergens (52.5%), peak expiratory flow monitoring (32.5%). Noteworthy, only 27,5% of patients underwent specific challenge. After the diagnosis 50% of patients did not change job. One third of the subjects were not referred to the national Workers Compensation Authority. Our data show that OA is quite neglected by Italian allergists, despite they have a pivotal role both in early identification and in primary prevention of OA. Thus, it is worth increasing awareness concerning OA and creating an easy-access network involving allergists and referral centers for Occupational respiratory diseases.

Keywords: Occupational asthma; diagnostic tools; medico-legal obligations; occupational rhinitis; treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Asthma, Occupational / diagnosis*
  • Asthma, Occupational / therapy
  • Awareness
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged