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ILAR J. 2001;42(1):55-64.

Assessment and treatment of laboratory animal allergy.

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  • 1Allergy Section, William S. Middle Veterans Affairs Hospital, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.


Laboratory animal allergy (LAA) is a form of occupational sensitivity affecting up to one third or more of exposed workers. Symptoms involve the eyes, nose, skin, and lower respiratory tract. Asthma may develop in 20 to 30% of sensitized individuals. An occupational medical history is the primary tool if a diagnosis of LAA is suspected. The diagnosis is confirmed by demonstrating the presence of immunoglobulin E antibodies to laboratory animal allergens by skin testing or in vitro assays. If laboratory animal allergen-induced asthma is suspected, measurements of lung function are necessary for confirmation and assessing the degree of impairment. One approach to the problem is presented in this article. For individuals with LAA, avoidance of exposure is the primary treatment. For individuals who continue to work in the environment, pharmacological treatment of their symptoms may be necessary. Methods to prevent the development of LAA are also discussed.

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