Risk Factors For Asthma in Laboratory Animal Allergy
To identify risk factors which predispose individuals to develop asthma and other manifestations of allergic disease on exposure to laboratory animals in the workplace.
|Study Design:||Observational Model: Natural History|
|Study Start Date:||July 1983|
|Estimated Study Completion Date:||June 1990|
In 1982, asthma and allergy to laboratory animals among persons who worked with the animals gained increased recognition as an occupational health problem affecting researchers, veterinarians, technicians, animal handlers, and others. At that time, more than 90,000 workers across the United States were at risk due to their exposure to lab animals in the more than 1,100 facilities registered by the United States Department of Agriculture. Several surveys of exposed workers indicated a prevalence rate of allergic symptoms due to laboratory animal allergy ranging from 19-30 percent in animal workers. Asthma was also a frequent disease among animal workers; these surveys indicated that as many as 13-14 percent of exposed workers had asthma.
The problem of laboratory animal allergy and asthma involved a vast industry that included medical and veterinary colleges, research institutes and universities, pharmaceutical manufacturers, commercial laboratory animal producers, and hospitals.
Recruitment for this longitudinal study began in November 1983 and ended in July 1987. The initial visit consisted of an extensive interview to identify and to exclude those individuals with laboratory animal allergy, asthma, and other manifestations of allergy and to obtain an occupational history. Venipuncture was used to obtain serum for IgE and IgG antibody assays. Pulmonary function tests, including a methacholine challenge, were administered. Psychosocial questionnaires were administered. Subjects were evaluated at six month intervals with skin tests, venipuncture, and methacholine challenge. The degree of exposure to animal allergens was quantitated by aeroallergen sampling of workplace and personal breathing zone air and by work diaries.