IgE antibodies to cow allergens and respiratory health in dairy farmers in Denmark and The Netherlands

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskning

  • Gert Doekes, Holland
  • I. Wouters, Danmark
  • J. de Vries, Holland
  • Ø. Omland, Danmark
  • Torben Sigsgaard
  • T. Virtanen, Finland
  • D. Heederik, Holland
  • Afdeling for Miljø- og Arbejdsmedicin
Type I (IgE-mediated) sensitization to cow allergens has been reported to occur with relatively high prevalence in cow farmers in Finland, where it would be a major determinant of occupational asthma. Comparable data from other countries are not available. The objective of this work was to assess the prevalence of IgE anti-cow allergens in Dutch and Danish dairy farmers, and the association with common and work-related respiratory health symptoms. In a pilot study, sera from 37 Dutch dairy farmers were tested in an enzyme immunoassay (EIA) for specific IgE against the major cow allergen Bos d2, and results were compared with their response to questions in a standardized questionnaire on common and work-related health problems. In addition, IgE anti-cow sensitization was assessed in 71 cases and 71 controls from the follow-up phase of the SUS project (a cohort study on respiratory disease in young Danish farmers). In that study, a specific IgE EIA was used with a coating of crude cow dander protein extract. This test was shown to produce results correlating very well with the IgE anti-Bos d2 EIA. Of the 37 Dutch dairy farmers, 11 had detectable IgE anti-Bos d2, while 12 reported common complaints, and 18 reported work-related respiratory complaints including wheezing, cough, cough with phlegm, as well as upper airway symptoms. There was no relation, however, between IgE anti-cow sensitization and a report of common or work-related symptoms; Odds Ratios were even below 1. Also in the Danish study no relation could be found: IgE anti-cow dander proteins were found in 22.5% of the cases and in 26.8% of the controls. The previously reported strong association between anti-cow IgE sensitization and work-related respiratory disease in Finland could not be confirmed in Dutch and Danish dairy farmers. Reasons for this discrepancy are presently unknown and might be either genetic factors, which seems highly unlikely, or a pronounced difference in levels of exposure to cow allergens.
TidsskriftJournal of Agricultural Safety and Health
Sider (fra-til)309-316
Antal sider8
StatusUdgivet - 2000

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