[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Few studies have described relations between exposure to laboratory animals and the incidence of laboratory animal allergy (LAA). Studies that have found exposure-response relations have been cross sectional in design or have focused on exposure to rats and mice. This study used longitudinal data collected over a 12 year period to describe the relations between indices of exposure to laboratory animals and the development of LAA and LAA symptoms.
Data were obtained from questionnaires and serological laboratory results from a dynamic cohort of workers exposed to a variety of laboratory animals in a pharmaceutical manufacturing company. Poisson regression was used to model the incidence rate ratios of species specific and general LAA and LAA symptoms at different levels of exposure.
The 12 year incidence rates of LAA symptoms and LAA for all workers were 2.26 (95% CI 1.61 to 2.91) and 1.32 (95% CI 0.76 to 1.87) per 100 person-years, respectively. Higher rate ratios were seen with increasing reported hours of exposure to tasks that required working with animal cages or with many animals at one time. The most common symptoms were related to rhinitis rather than to asthma.
This study suggests that the risk of LAA increases with duration of exposure to animals and work in animal related tasks. Incidence might be reduced by limiting hours per week of exposure to laboratory animals.
Occupational and environmental medicine 12/2005; 62(11):766-71. · 3.64 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Laboratory animal allergy is a common illness among workers exposed to laboratory animals and can progress to symptoms of asthma.
This study evaluates the continuum of disease from allergy symptoms to asthma symptoms in a dynamic cohort of workers exposed to animals in a pharmaceutical company.
Data arose from annual questionnaires administered to workers in a surveillance program established to monitor exposure to animals and the development of allergy. The life-table method was used to compare asthma-free survival between workers with and without symptoms of allergy. A Cox proportional hazards model was used to examine the effects of covariates on the development of asthma.
A total of 603 workers contributed 2527.4 person-years to the study over the 12.3-year period. The probabilities of experiencing asthma symptoms by the 11th year of follow-up were 0.367 for workers with allergy symptoms and 0.052 for those without allergy symptoms. The hazard ratio for asthma symptoms when comparing workers with and without allergy symptoms was 7.39 (95% CI, 3.29-16.60) after adjustment for sex and family history of allergy. Female subjects developed asthma at a rate 3.4 times that of male subjects.
This study supports the hypothesis that laboratory animal allergy symptoms are a major risk factor for the development of asthma. It also suggests a heightened risk of asthma for women who work with laboratory animals, a finding that has not been previously reported.
Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 08/2005; 116(1):127-32. · 12.05 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Occupational fatal injury rate studies are often based upon uncertain and variable data. The numerator in rate calculations is often obtained from surveillance systems that can understate the true number of deaths. Worker-years, the denominator in many occupational rate calculations, are frequently estimated from sources that exhibit different amounts of variability.
Effects of these data limitations on analyses of trends in occupational fatal injuries were studied using computer simulation. Fatality counts were generated assuming an undercount. Employment estimates were produced using two different strategies, reflecting either frequent but variable measurements or infrequent, precise estimates with interpolated estimates for intervening years. Poisson regression models were fit to the generated data. A range of empirically motivated fatality rate and employment parameters were studied.
Undercounting fatalities resulted in biased estimation of the intercept in the Poisson regression model. Relative bias in the trend estimate was near zero for most situations, but increased when a change in fatality undercounting over time was present. Biases for both the intercept and trend were larger when small employment populations were present. Denominator options resulted in similar rate and trend estimates, except where the interpolated method did not capture true trends in employment.
Data quality issues such as consistency of conditions throughout the study period and the size of population being studied affect the size of the bias in parameter estimation.
American Journal of Industrial Medicine 10/2004; 46(3):271-83. · 1.97 Impact Factor