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Am J Ind Med. 1997 Dec;32(6):665-9.

Prospective epidemiologic evaluation of laboratory animal allergy among university employees.

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Department of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, USA.



Evaluation of incidence and risk factors for development of laboratory animal allergy (LAA) among new hires previously unexposed to lab animals.


Baseline, 6-month and yearly follow-up, questionnaires, pulmonary functions, and methacholine challenges were collected from 98 never-before occupationally exposed and 90 control laboratory researchers. The two groups were followed between 6 and 36 months.


At baseline, there were no differences in atopy, pulmonary functions, or methacholine reactivity between the two groups. The incidence of work-related asthma was comparable in the two groups, approximately 2.5% at 6 months and 4.5% at 24 months. The rate of decline in FEV1 was statistically significantly greater in the animal-exposed than nonanimal-exposed workers, and animal-exposed smokers' FEV1 declined significantly more rapidly than any other groups'.


Despite the low incidence of laboratory-animal allergy and work-related asthma in this group, this study corroborates previously described interaction between smoking and animal exposure.

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