SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • farmers;
  • asthma;
  • atopy;
  • endotoxins;
  • fungal spores

Abstract

Background

In a previous study inverse associations between asthma and exposure to fungal spores and endotoxins in atopic farmers and positive associations with the same factors in non-atopic farmers were documented. No external reference population had been included. We, therefore, compared this farming population with the general population from an adjacent region.

Methods

Random samples of a farming (n = 2,106) and a rural (n = 351) and urban (n = 727) general population were selected. Atopy was assessed by serum IgE and asthma by questionnaires.

Results

The asthma prevalence was 4.0% among farmers, 5.7% in the rural, and 7.6% in the urban population. Atopy was similar (9–10%). Most asthmatics were not atopic, 67–75%. Farmers had asthma less often than the general population OR 0.52 (95% CI 0.36–0.75); both atopic (OR 0.33 (95% CI 0.15–0.69)) and non-atopic asthma (OR 0.60 (95% CI 0.39–0.93)).

Conclusion

This may indicate a protective effect of the farm environment on asthma but a healthy worker effect may also play a role. Am. J. Ind. Med. 46:396–399, 2004. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.