Industrial Pseudomonas folliculitis
ABSTRACT IntroductionComplaints of poor water quality and skin rashes among workers at a US cardboard manufacturing facility were investigated to determine potential causes.Methods
Employees were interviewed regarding work duties and health symptoms. Areas of dermatitis in affected employees were visually examined. Collected water samples were tested for potential chemical and microbial contaminants.ResultsA total of 27 employees were identified with complaints of recent skin rashes affecting primarily the upper and lower extremities. Dermatitis complaints were associated with water contact and work in areas with poor water quality. Water testing showed high levels of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Other tested substances were not at levels of concern.Conclusions
Overgrowth of P. aeruginosa occurred in the water system shortly after the facility switched to a closed-loop water recycling system and was the most likely cause of the observed dermatitis. To our knowledge, this is the first reported outbreak of Pseudomonas folliculitis in an industrial setting. Am. J. Ind. Med. 49:895–899, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.