73 eastern-Polish farmers growing hops and other crops were examined. They were questioned by a dermatologist and subsequently skin prick-tested with allergens of hops, grain dust, straw dust, hay dust, storage mites, and antigens of microorganisms typical for farm environment.
Results: 14 farmers (19.2%) complained of work-related skin symptoms, caused most often by hops (11%), followed by grain (5.6%), hay (5.5%) and straw (4.1%). Five farmers (6.8%) complained of hand dermatitis, four (5.5%) of airborne dermatitis, and eight (11.0%) of pruritus. In two farmers, two skin diseases co-existed. The skin symptoms were mostly mild, however, one case of severe invalidating airborne dermatitis to hops was found. On skin prick tests, 14 farmers (19.2%) showed positive skin reaction to at least one allergen; 5.5% of farmers reacted to grain dust, 5.5% to straw dust, 11% to hay dust, and 8.2% to hops. Tests with storage mites showed positive reactions to Acarus siro in 9.6%, Lepidoglyphus destructor in 17.8%, and to Tyrophagus putrescentiae in 13.7%. Tests with microbial allergens elicited positive reactions to Pantoea agglomerans in 4.1%, Saccharopolyspora rectivirgula in 4.1%, Aspergillus fumigatus in 4.1% and to Streptomyces albus in 1.4% of farmers.
Although results of skin prick tests in general did not correlate well with the work- related skin symptoms, in three of 14 farmers with skin symptoms the tests results played a crucial role in identifying the cause of their work-related skin disease.
KEY WORDS: occupational skin diseases, epidemiology, farmers, plant production, hops (Humulus lupulus), grain, straw, hay, storage mites, microbial antigens.
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