Background/aim: Sensitivity and symptoms related to animal proteins have been investigated in various occupational groups. However, data from horse farm workers are limited. We aimed to determine horse allergen sensitivity in the horse farm workers, and to evaluate its relationship with respiratory symptoms and functional parameters.
Materials and methods: A total of 110 subjects were enrolled in the study. The study group consisted of 80 horse farm workers. Face-to-face surveys, skin prick tests (SPT), and pulmonary function tests (PFT) were performed in the study group. Control group consisted of 30 healthy subjects. SPT and PFTs were also performed for control group. The SPT test results of the horse farm workers were compared with the SPT results provided from the medical records of 1376 subjects who admitted to the outpatient clinic with respiratory symptoms.
Results: Atopy rate was significantly higher in horse farm workers than in healthy subjects (41% and 13%, respectively; P = 0.008). Horse allergen sensitivity was positive 8/80 (10%) in horse farm workers, 0/30 in healthy subjects, and 32/1376 (2%) in medical records of subjects who were admitted to the outpatient clinic with respiratory symptoms. (P = 0.07, P = 0.001, respectively). There was no statistically significant relationship between respiratory symptoms and horse allergen sensitivity in horse farm workers (P = 0.67). However, mean FEV1 ratios were lower in horse farm workers with horse allergen sensitivity than healthy subjects (88.6% ± 17.9, 103.7 ± 10, P = 0.031, respectively).
Conclusion: Atopy and animal allergen sensitization were significantly higher in horse farm workers, suggesting the relationship between the intensity of specific allergen exposure and the sensitization to this specific allergen.
Keywords: Horse farm workers; horse allergen; occupational exposure; respiratory symptoms; skin prick test.
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