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Diel R.,Hannover Medical School | Loddenkemper R.,German Central Committee Against Tuberculosis | Niemann S.,National Reference Center for Mycobacteria | Nienhaus A.,Institution for Statutory Accident Insurance and Prevention in the Health and Welfare Services
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine | Year: 2011

Rationale: Only limited data are available on the predictive value of interferon-γ release assays for progression from latent tuberculosis infection to active tuberculosis (TB). Objectives: To build on our initial study comparing the QuantiFERON-TB Gold in-tube assay (QFT) with the tuberculin skin test (TST) in close contacts of patients with TB and evaluating progression to active TB for up to 4 years. Methods: A cohort of close contacts of smear-positive index cases established between May 2005 and April 2008 was tested with QFT and TST. Through April 2010, progressors to active TB were consecutively recorded. Measurements and Main Results: Of the 1,414 contacts (141 children), 1,033 were still resident in Hamburg at the end of the study period, and results of both tests were available for 954. QFT, but not TST, results were associated with exposure time (P < 0.0001). For QFT, 198 of 954 (20.8%) were positive; 63.3% (604) were TST positive at greater than 5 mm and 25.4% at greater than 10 mm. Nine hundred and three contacts refused chemoprevention and 19 developed active TB. All 19 (100%) had been QFT positive with a progression rate of 12.9% (19 of 147) over the observation period. Corresponding values for the TST were significantly lower: 89.5% (17 of 19) and 3.1% (17 of 555) at greater than 5 mm, and 52.6% (10 of 19) and 4.8% (10 of 207) at greater than 10 mm, respectively. The progression rate of 28.6% (6 of 21) for QFT-positive children was significantly higher than 10.3% (13 of 126) for adults (P = 0.03). Conclusions: Results suggest that QFT is more reliable than the TST for identifying those who will soon progress to active TB, especially in children.


Peters C.,University of Hamburg | Harling M.,University of Hamburg | Dulon M.,Institution for Statutory Accident Insurance and Prevention in the Health and Welfare Services | Schablon A.,University of Hamburg | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology | Year: 2010

Background. Hairdressers often come into contact with various chemical substances which can be found in hair care products for washing, dyeing, bleaching, styling, spraying and perming. This exposure can impair health and may be present as skin and respiratory diseases. Effects on reproduction have long been discussed in the literature. Method. A systematic review has been prepared in which publications from 1990 to 2010 were considered in order to specifically investigate the effects on fertility and pregnancy. The results of the studies were summarised separately in accordance with the type of study and the examined events. Results. A total of 2 reviews and 26 original studies on fertility disorders and pregnancy complications in hairdressers were found in the relevant databases, as well as through hand searches of reference lists. Nineteen different outcomes concerning fertility and pregnancy are analysed in the 26 original studies. Most studies looked into malformation (n = 7), particularly orofacial cleft. Two of them found statistically significant increased risks compared to five that did not. Small for gestational age (SGA), low birth weight (LBW) and spontaneous abortions were frequently investigated but found different results. Taken together the studies are inconsistent, so that no clear statements on an association between the exposure as a hairdresser and the effect on reproduction are possible. The different authors describe increased risks of infertility, congenital malformations, SGA, LBW, cancer in childhood, as well as effects from single substances. Conclusion. On the basis of the identified epidemiological studies, fertility disorders and pregnancy complications in hairdressers cannot be excluded. Although the evidence for these risks is low, further studies on reproductive risks in hairdressers should be performed as there is a high public health interest. © 2010 Peters et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Kiffmeyer T.K.,Institute of Energy and Environmental Technology | Tuerk J.,Institute of Energy and Environmental Technology | Hahn M.,Institute of Medical Statistics | Stuetzer H.,Institute of Medical Statistics | And 3 more authors.
Annals of Occupational Hygiene | Year: 2013

A large-scale study was carried out in order to determine the contamination level of antineoplastic drugs in pharmacies and to investigate the suitability and effects of wipe sample monitoring at regular intervals. A specific study design was developed. The 130 participating pharmacies were divided into a study and a control group, carrying out five and two wipe sampling cycles, respectively. The work practice was analyzed using questionnaires to identify factors that influence the contamination level. From 1269 wipe samples, 774 (61%) were contaminated with at least one of the analyzed cytotoxic drugs: cyclophosphamide, docetaxel, etoposide, 5-fluorouracil, gemcitabine, ifosfamide, methotrexate, and paclitaxel. A significant decrease of the contamination with cyclophosphamide and 5-fluorouracil was observed in the study group. The Monitoring-Effect Study of Wipe Sampling in Pharmacies method has proven to be a reliable and affordable tool for contamination control. Based on the 90th percentile of the contamination values, a substance-independent performance-based guidance value of 0.1ng cm-2 has been derived. © 2012 The Author.


Dulon M.,Institution for Statutory Accident Insurance and Prevention in the Health and Welfare Services | Haamann F.,Institution for Statutory Accident Insurance and Prevention in the Health and Welfare Services | Nienhaus A.,Institution for Statutory Accident Insurance and Prevention in the Health and Welfare Services | Nienhaus A.,University of Hamburg
Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology | Year: 2013

Background: Colonisation of healthcare workers (HCWs) with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strains (MRSA) is a challenge for any healthcare facility. Persistent carriage of MRSA among HCWs causes special problems, particularly in occupational-medical care. German occupational physicians responsible for healthcare facilities were therefore asked about their experience in managing MRSA-colonised HCWs. Methods. In May 2012, 549 occupational physicians were asked in writing about in-house management of MRSA-colonised HCWs. The semi-standardised survey form contained questions about collaboration between the infection control team and the occupational physician, the involvement of the occupational physician in in-house management of MRSA carriers and the number of persistently colonised HCWs in 2011. The answers were intended to apply to the largest facility cared for by the occupational physician. Results: 207 occupational physicians took part in the survey (response rate 38%). In 2011, 73 (35%) occupational physicians were responsible for the occupational-medical management of an average of four MRSA-colonised HCWs. Eleven doctors (5.3% of 207) managed a total of 17 persistently colonised HCWs. One of these 17 employees was dismissed. In the case of MRSA carriage among HCWs, most occupational physicians cooperated with the infection control team (77%) and 39% of occupational physicians were responsible for the occupational-medical management of the affected carrier. 65% of facilities had specified policies for the management of MRSA-colonised HCWs. After the first MRSA-positive screening result, 79% of facilities attempt to decolonise the affected employee. In 6% of facilities, the colonised HCWs were excluded from work while receiving decolonisation treatment. In 54% of facilities, infection control policies demand the removal of MRSA carriers from patient care. Conclusions: Not all facilities have policies for the management of MRSA-colonised HCWs and there are major differences in occupational consequences for the affected HCWs. In order to protect both the employees and the patients, standards for the in-house management of MRSA colonisation in HCWs should be developed. © 2013 Dulon et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Fartasch M.,Ruhr University Bochum | Taeger D.,Ruhr University Bochum | Broding H.C.,Ruhr University Bochum | Schoneweis S.,Ruhr University Bochum | And 3 more authors.
Contact Dermatitis | Year: 2012

Background. Exposure to humid environments/water and prolonged glove occlusion are both believed to cause irritant contact dermatitis. Objectives. To study the effects of different forms of wet work, especially the differences between water exposure and occlusion, by using an experimental model simulating occupational wet work. Methods. The responses to water exposure and occlusion over multiple daily exposure periods for 7 days were compared in 73 volunteers. After the 1 week exposure, the sites were irritated with sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). Comparison was performed via visual inspection and bioengineering methods. Results. Whereas occlusion did not induce measurable alterations in skin physiology, water exposure for more than 3 hr daily caused a significant increase in transepidermal water loss (TEWL) as compared with the control areas. SLS irritation of the previously occluded and the water-exposed sites induced higher TEWL and clinical scores in a time-dependent fashion as compared with the control areas, with more pronounced reactions in the water-exposed sites than in the occluded sites. Conclusion. Both previous occlusion and water exposure were capable of inducing higher susceptibility to SLS irritation. Skin hydration by occlusion had a different biological effect than water exposure. Short occlusions seem to harm the skin less than water exposure for the same duration. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons A/S.


Dulon M.,Institution for Statutory Accident Insurance and Prevention in the Health and Welfare Services | Peters C.,Institution for Statutory Accident Insurance and Prevention in the Health and Welfare Services | Wendeler D.,Institution for Statutory Accident Insurance and Prevention in the Health and Welfare Services | Nienhaus A.,University of Hamburg
American Journal of Industrial Medicine | Year: 2011

Background: Hairdressers are exposed to several allergens and irritants known to cause obstructive airway diseases (OAD). In the early 1990s, high incidence rates of OAD were observed in German hairdressers. It was expected that modification of formulations would resolve the problem of high OAD rates in hairdressers. Methods: The numbers of confirmed cases are reported of allergen-, latex- and irritant-induced OAD in German hairdressers, as registered by the responsible compensation board during 1998 and 2007. Hairdressing components reported as causative for OAD in hairdressers were analyzed. The incidence rates of OAD in hairdressers were compared with rates in healthcare professionals, as both occupations had high rates of OAD in the 1990s. Results: From 1998 until 2003, the total number of confirmed cases of allergen-, latex- and irritant-induced OAD stayed at a plateau of 60 cases annually in hairdressers, after which a downward trend was apparent. The number of irritant-induced OAD cases did not fall during this overall downward trend. Hair dyes and acid perms were most often identified as the substances causing OAD in hairdressers. In healthcare professionals, the downward trend in OAD is more pronounced than in hairdressers, mainly due to a decrease in latex-induced cases. Conclusions: The number of allergen- and irritant-induced cases of OAD in German hairdressers is still high. Exposure to known airway irritants is still occurring in spite of modification of the formulations. Continuous medical surveillance of hairdressers is recommended, in order to detect individual susceptibility, especially in apprentices. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc..


Seidel D.,University of Cambridge | Hjalmarson J.,KTH Royal Institute of Technology | Freitag S.,Institution for Statutory Accident Insurance and Prevention in the Health and Welfare Services | Larsson T.J.,KTH Royal Institute of Technology | And 2 more authors.
Gait and Posture | Year: 2011

This study measured the postures of older people during cooking and laundry. A sample of men and women aged 75+ years (n= 27) was recruited and observed in a home-like environment. Postures were recorded with a measurement system in an objective and detailed manner. The participants were videotaped to be able to see where 'critical' postures occurred, as defined by a trunk inclination of ≥60° Analysis of data was facilitated by specially developed software. Critical postures accounted for 3% of cooking and 10% of laundry, occurring primarily during retrieving from and putting in lower cabinets, the refrigerator, laundry basket or washing machine as well as disposing into the waste bin. These tasks involve a great variation in postural changes and pose a particular risk to older people. The results suggest that the use of stressful postures may decrease efficiency and increase fatigue, eventually leading to difficulties with daily activities. The specific tasks identified during which critical postures occurred should be targeted by designers in order to improve the activities. A few examples are given of how better design can reduce or eliminate some of the postural constraints. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.


Schablon A.,Institution for Statutory Accident Insurance and Prevention in the Health and Welfare Services | Schablon A.,University of Hamburg | Harling M.,Institution for Statutory Accident Insurance and Prevention in the Health and Welfare Services | Harling M.,University of Hamburg | And 2 more authors.
BMC Infectious Diseases | Year: 2010

Background: Healthcare workers are still recognised as a high-risk group for latent TB infection (LTBI). Therefore, the screening of people employed in the healthcare sector for active and LTBI is fundamental to infection control programmes in German hospitals. It was the aim of the study to determine the prevalence and putative risk factors of LTBI.Methods: We tested 2028 employees in the healthcare sector with the QuantiFERON-Gold In-tube (QFT-IT) test between December 2005 and May 2009, either in the course of contact tracing or in serial testing of TB high-risk groups following German OSH legislation.Results: A positive IGRA was found in 9.9% of the healthcare workers (HCWs). Nurses and physicians showed similar prevalence rates (9.7% to 9.6%). Analysed by occupational group, the highest prevalence was found in administration staff and ancillary nursing staff (17.4% and 16.7%). None of the individuals in the trainee group showed a positive IGRA result. In the different workplaces the observed prevalence was 14.7% in administration, 12.0% in geriatric care, 14.2% in technicians (radiology, laboratory and pathology), 6.5% in admission ward staff and 8.3% in the staff of pulmonary/infectious disease wards. Putative risk factors for LTBI were age (>55 years: OR14.7, 95% CI 5.1-42.1), being foreign-born (OR 1.99, 95% CI 1.4-2.8), TB in the individual's own history (OR 4.96, 95% CI 1.99-12.3) and previous positive TST results (OR 3.5, 95% CI 2.4-4.98). We observed no statistically significant association with gender, BCG vaccination, workplace or profession.Conclusion: The prevalence of LTBI in low-incidence countries depends on age. We found no positive IGRA results among trainees in the healthcare sector. Incidence studies are needed to assess the infection risk. Pre-employment screening might be helpful in this endeavour. © 2010 Schablon et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Harling M.,Institution for Statutory Accident Insurance and Prevention in the Health and Welfare Services | Schablon A.,Institution for Statutory Accident Insurance and Prevention in the Health and Welfare Services | Schedlbauer G.,Institution for Statutory Accident Insurance and Prevention in the Health and Welfare Services | Dulon M.,Institution for Statutory Accident Insurance and Prevention in the Health and Welfare Services | Nienhaus A.,University of Hamburg
Occupational and Environmental Medicine | Year: 2010

Background: Occupational risks for bladder cancer in hairdressers by using hair products have been examined in many epidemiological studies. But owing to small sample sizes of the studies and the resulting lack of statistical power, the results of these studies have been inconsistent and significant associations have rarely been found. Methods: We conducted a meta-analysis to determine summary risk ratios (SRRs) for the risk of bladder cancer among hairdressers. Studies were identified by a MEDLINE, EMBASE, CENTRAL search and by the reference lists of articles/relevant reviews. Statistical tests for publication bias and for heterogeneity as well as sensitivity analysis were applied. In addition, the study quality and the risk of bias were assessed using six criteria. Results: 42 studies were included and statistically significantly increased risks around 1.3-1.7 were found for all but one analysis. The SRR increased with duration of employment from 1.30 (95% CI 1.15 to 1.48) for 'ever registered as hairdresser' to 1.70 (95% CI 1.01 to 2.88) for 'job held ≥10 years'. No difference was found between the risk for smoking-adjusted data (SRR 1.35, 95% CI 1.13 to 1.61) and no adjustment (SRR 1.33, 95% CI 1.18 to 1.50). Studies assessed as being of high quality (n=11) and of moderate quality (n=31) showed similar SRRs. There was no evidence of publication bias or heterogeneity in all analyses. Conclusion: In summary, our results showed an increased and statistically significant risk for bladder cancer among hairdressers, in particular for hairdressers in jobs held ≥10 years. Residual confounding by smoking cannot be totally ruled out. Because of the long latency times of bladder cancer it remains an open question whether hairdressers working prior to 1980 and after 1980, when some aromatic amines were banned as hair dye ingredients, have the same risk for bladder cancer.


Nienhaus A.,University of Hamburg | Nienhaus A.,Institution for Statutory Accident Insurance and Prevention in the Health and Welfare Services | Ringshausen F.C.,Hannover Medical School | Costa J.T.,Porto Medical School | And 3 more authors.
Expert Review of Anti-Infective Therapy | Year: 2013

Healthcare workers (HCW) are a risk group for TB. Even in countries with low TB incidence, the risk of TB in HCW is elevated for a wide range of tasks in healthcare, and the prevention of nosocomial infection of HCW remains as a challenge. IFN-γ release assays (IGRA) facilitate the screening of HCW for latent TB infection. In comparison with the tuberculin skin test, the IGRA reduces the number of x-rays and the amount of chemoprevention needed. However, a borderline zone should be introduced for the interpretation of IGRA results in the serial testing of HCW. More data on disease progression depending on conversion and reversion in IGRA is needed and a better test, which is able to distinguish recent from remote latent TB infection, would be desirable in the future. © 2013 Expert Reviews Ltd.

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