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Occup Med (Lond). 2011 Jan;61(1):33-9. doi: 10.1093/occmed/kqq164. Epub 2010 Nov 8.

Improving estimates of specialist-diagnosed, work-related respiratory and skin disease.

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Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health, Health Sciences Group, School of Community Based Medicine, Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences, The University of Manchester, Ellen Wilkinson Building, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK.



Work-related skin and respiratory disease still constitute an important part of the work-related ill-health (WRIH) burden of Great Britain (GB). It is therefore important to be able to accurately quantify the true incidence of these two groups of disease.


To improve the accuracy of the methodology to estimate clinical specialist incidence rates, with a focus on skin and respiratory disease. Specifically, we sought to estimate the number of additional cases not captured by voluntary surveillance through The Health and Occupation Reporting (THOR) network and provide a better estimation of the true incidence of work-related skin and respiratory disease in GB.


Cases not captured by THOR in 2005-2007 due to non-participation of eligible clinical specialists and due to <100% response rates by THOR participants were estimated, and the numerator adjusted accordingly. Adjusted incidence rates were calculated using Labour Force Survey data as the denominator.


During 2005-2007, 62% of skin cases and 60% of GB respiratory cases were likely to have been captured by THOR. After adjustment, dermatologist-derived incidence rates for skin disease were raised from 9 to 14 per 100,000 employed, while those for respiratory disease were raised from 10 to 17 per 100,000 employed.


We have provided a significant improvement in the surveillance-based methodology used to estimate the number of cases of WRIH captured by THOR and hence enabled more accurate estimations of GB incidence rates for clinical specialist-reported WRIH.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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