Young farmers with cellular reactivity to airborne microbes suffer more frequently from work-related skin symptoms and allergic dermatitis.
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Department of Occupational Biohazards, Institute of Agricultural Medicine, Lublin, Poland
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Radosław Śpiewak   

Department of Occupational Biohazards, Institute of Agricultural Medicine, Lublin, Poland
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2001;8(2):255-259
75 farming students (49 males and 26 females aged 16-23 years) underwent dermatological, laryngological and pulmonary examination, skin prick tests with common and farm allergens, Phadiatop and total IgE measurement. After that, the migration inhibition tests with antigens of airborne microbes typical for farm environment (Saccharopolyspora rectivirgula, Pantoea agglomerans, and Aspergillus fumigatus) were carried out. Possible differences between students with positive results and those non-reactive were sought. RESULTS: 10 students reacted to at least one microbial antigen in the migration inhibition test. There were no significant differences in distribution of atopy, prick test results, total IgE, and Phadiatop between the reactive students and their classmates. Only one case of asthma was found, hence a further statistical analysis was not feasible. Allergic rhinitis has been found in 30% of the reactive and in 9.2% of non-reactive students; the difference, however, was not statistically significant (p=0.06). Significant differences were found with respect to the frequency of allergic skin diseases (40% reactive versus 9.2% non-reactive, p = 0.009); no other triggering factors than microbial antigens could be identified in 2 out of 4 reactive students with dermatitis. Work-related symptoms were present in all reactive students (100% versus 27.7%, p=0.001); 8 out of 10 reactive students did not show any other specific sensitisation. Antigens of airborne microbes are commonly associated with lung diseases. Our results, however, suggest that the skin may be affected as well. Relatively strong association between cellular reactivity to airborne microbes and skin diseases deserves further studies.
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