Hans Jürgen Hoffmann

Allergy in bakers' apprentices and factors associated to non-participation in a cohort study of allergic sensitization

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  • Institute of Environmental and Occupational Medicine
  • The Department og Pulmunary Medicine
  • Molekylær medicinsk afdeling (MOMA)
Objective  To describe the prevalence of atopy and respiratory symptoms among baker apprentices at the start of the education and factors associated with non-participation in the study. Methods  A total of 346 students, 22.1(0.6) years of age, mean (SD), from the food production programme of technical colleges in Denmark were invited to participate in a 3 year study. Of the students, 187 agreed to participate and filled in a physician-administered questionnaire. The presence of atopy was determined by skin prick test (SPT) and serum allergen specific IgE (SpIgE). Bronchial hyper responsiveness to methacholine (PD20 ≤ 1,440 μg) was determined. Results  Prevalence of atopy was 32%. The prevalence of symptoms from the lungs and nose was 19.8 and 25.5%, respectively. Significantly, more SPT reactions were seen in males compared to females (39 vs. 22%, P < 0.05). Sensitization towards flour was significantly more frequent if determined as SpIgE (7.3%) compared to SPT (0.5%). We found a positive association between atopy and lung symptoms OR 6.1 (2.8-13.2 SD) and nasal symptoms OR 3.7 (1.8-7.5 SD). The major reason for non-participation was fear of blood sampling (25.5%). Conclusion  The prevalence of atopy in bakers' apprentices was of the same magnitude in the general Danish population. Significantly, more male bakers' apprentices had atopy. This finding has major impact on the diagnostic procedures of occupational allergy in bakery workers emphasizing the need for standardization of the clinical tests. The main reasons for non-participation were, fear of blood-sampling (57%) and the 3 years commitment to the follow-up study (39%).
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
Pages (from-to)458-464
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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