CASE REPORT
RESPIRATORY DISORDERS IN TWO WORKERS OF CUSTOMS DEPOSITORIES OCCUPATIONALLY EXPOSED TO MOULDY TOBACCO
 
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Department of Pneumonology, Oncology and Allergology, Medical University of Lublin, Lublin, Poland
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR
Barbara Mackiewicz   

Department of Pneumonology, Oncology and Allergology, Medical University of Lublin, Jaczewskiego 8, 20-090 Lublin, Poland
 
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2008;15(2):317–322
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ABSTRACT
Work-related respiratory symptoms, including dyspnoea, cough, fever, tiredness and malaise, were recorded in two customs officers employed in 2 depositories of confiscated cigarettes, of which one showed signs of dampness. Microbiological sampling of the air and the cigarettes stored in a damp depository revealed the presence of potentially pathogenic fungi and bacteria and the biochemical markers of bacterial lipopolysaccharide and fungal biomass. The Penicillium species (P. simplicissimum, P. inflatum, P. commune) dominated in the damp depository, while in the other one Aspergillus fumigatus was prevalent. The patients under study did not show a specific sensitization to microbial allergens in the precipitin test, the test for inhibition of leukocyte migration and the bronchial provocation challenge, except for a weak reaction to fungal allergens in the test for inhibition of leukocyte migration. Moreover, one patient responded with subjective symptoms after exposure to inhalation of increased doses of Penicillium simplicissimum antigen. Both cases were diagnosed as a specific form of organic dust toxic syndrome (ODTS). It is hypothesized that the symptoms were evoked most probably by the non-specific action of low molecular fungal metabolites, such as mycotoxins or VOCs (volatile organic compounds), with the possible contribution of bacterial endotoxin. However, as there is no a direct proof to support this presumption, and the effects of nicotine and other tobacco constituents cannot be excluded, further studies are needed to elucidate etiopathogenesis of the disorders associated with the exposure to stored tobacco.
eISSN:1898-2263
ISSN:1232-1966