Prospective epidemiologic evaluation of laboratory animal allergy among university employees

Am J Ind Med. 1997 Dec;32(6):665-9. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0274(199712)32:6<665::aid-ajim13>;2-#.


Objectives: Evaluation of incidence and risk factors for development of laboratory animal allergy (LAA) among new hires previously unexposed to lab animals.

Methods: Baseline, 6-month and yearly follow-up, questionnaires, pulmonary functions, and methacholine challenges were collected from 98 never-before occupationally exposed and 90 control laboratory researchers. The two groups were followed between 6 and 36 months.

Results: At baseline, there were no differences in atopy, pulmonary functions, or methacholine reactivity between the two groups. The incidence of work-related asthma was comparable in the two groups, approximately 2.5% at 6 months and 4.5% at 24 months. The rate of decline in FEV1 was statistically significantly greater in the animal-exposed than nonanimal-exposed workers, and animal-exposed smokers' FEV1 declined significantly more rapidly than any other groups'.

Conclusion: Despite the low incidence of laboratory-animal allergy and work-related asthma in this group, this study corroborates previously described interaction between smoking and animal exposure.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animal Technicians*
  • Animals
  • Animals, Laboratory / immunology*
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Universities