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Acta Otolaryngol. 2005 Nov;125(11):1211-7.

Occupational rhinitis: diagnostic criteria, relation to lower airway symptoms and IgE sensitization in bakery workers.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway.



The use of different diagnostic criteria has considerable consequences for the prevalence estimates of occupational rhinitis. There is a strong relationship between occupational rhinitis and lower airway symptoms. Storage mites appear to be important occupational allergens in Norwegian bakeries.


To study the consequences of various diagnostic criteria on the prevalence of occupational rhinitis, assess the prevalence of IgE sensitization and explore the relationships between upper and lower airway symptoms and between symptoms and IgE sensitization.


A total of 197 employees in 6 bakeries were interviewed and completed a questionnaire. A skin prick test was performed, total and specific IgE were determined and a histamine release test was performed for relevant allergens. The criteria for the diagnosis of occupational rhinitis were based on the 1994 International Consensus Report on Rhinitis.


The prevalence of occupational rhinitis varied between 23% and 50%, depending on the criteria used. The occurrence of nasal symptoms was found to precede the development of lower airway symptoms. Occupational rhinitis, both IgE- and non-IgE-mediated, was associated with asthma symptoms. The most frequent causes of sensitization (20%) were different species of storage mites. Storage mite sensitization was related to occupational rhinitis and work exposure.

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