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Am J Ind Med. 2004 Sep;46(3):284-96.

A comparison of data sources for the surveillance of work-related carpal tunnel syndrome in Massachusetts.

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Occupational Health Surveillance Program, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts 02116, USA.



This study examined whether a state surveillance system for work-related carpal tunnel syndrome (WR-CTS) based on workers' compensation claims (Sentinel Event Notification System for Occupational Risks, SENSOR) and the Annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) identified the same industries, occupations, sources of injury, and populations for intervention.


Trends in counts, rates, and female/male ratios of WR-CTS during 1994-1997, and age distributions were compared across three data sources: SENSOR, Massachusetts SOII, and National SOII. SENSOR and National SOII data on WR-CTS were compared by industry, occupation, and injury source.


Due to small sample size and subsequent gaps in available information, state SOII data on WR-CTS were of little use in identifying specific industries and occupations for intervention. SENSOR and National SOII data on the frequency of WR-CTS cases identified many similar occupations and industries, and both surveillance systems pointed to computer use as a risk factor for WR-CTS. Some high rate industries identified by SENSOR were not identified using National SOII rates even when national findings were restricted to take into account the distribution of the Massachusetts workforce.


Use of national SOII data on rates of WR-CTS for identifying state industry priorities for WR-CTS prevention should be undertaken with caution. Options for improving state SOII data and use of other state data systems should be pursued.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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