LABORATORY ANIMAL ALLERGY (LAA) AMONG THE ANIMAL FACILITIES’ WORKERS IN A RESEARCH INSTITUTE: A CLINICAL SURVEY
Background: Research animal facilities had been identified as a risky environment for the development of Laboratory Animal Allergy (LAA). The risk degree is in parallel with the nature of contact, intensity of exposure and individual susceptibility. Early recognition of LAA via active clinical surveillance is imperative before it progresses into chronic disability.
Method: This cross-sectional study recruited 87 workers exposed to animal allergen and 87 control subjects. Self-administered LAA questionnaire contained details of occupational and socio-environmental history as well as pulmonary function test were employed as study tools. Statistical analysis performed with SPSS version 20, utilizing descriptive analysis, cross tabulation, independent t-test, Mann Whitney U-test and Multivariable Logistic Regression (MLR).
Results: More than half of the exposed subjects were reported at least one LAA symptoms (58.6%) and declined ling function (56.3%). Upper respiratory symptoms were the most prevalent LAA symptoms (49.4%). There was significant association between the reported symptoms and abnormal lung profile (p<0.05). In term of lung function values, the mean FEV1, FEV1/FVC and median FVC were significantly lower among the exposed group compared to the control group (p<0.001). MLR substantiated that atopic workers, smokers and those did not comply with full PPE regularly upon animal contact were more likely to develop LAA.
Conclusion: LAA is an acknowledged occupational hazard. Therefore knowing the existing prevalence and its risk factors to design an effective LAA prevention program consisted of exposure avoidance and exposure reduction which combines the engineering control, administrative control and PPE is of paramount importance.
Keywords: laboratory animal allergy, animal workers, research animal facilities, clinical survey