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Sabino R.,Nacional Institute Of Health Dr Ricardo Jorge | Faisca V.M.,Polytechnic Institute of Lisbon | Carolino E.,Polytechnic Institute of Lisbon | Verissimo C.,Nacional Institute Of Health Dr Ricardo Jorge | Viegas C.,Polytechnic Institute of Lisbon
Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health - Part A: Current Issues | Year: 2012

Aspergillus is among a growing list of allergens that aggravate asthmatic responses. Significant pulmonary pathology is associated with Aspergillus-induced allergic and asthmatic lung disease. Environments with high levels of exposure to fungi are found in animal production facilities such as for swine and poultry, and farmers working with these are at increased risk for occupational respiratory diseases. Seven Portuguese poultry and seven swine farms were analyzed in order to estimate the prevalence, amount, and distribution of Aspergillus species, as well as to determine the presence of clinical symptoms associated with asthma and other allergy diseases in these highly contaminated settings. From the collected fungal isolates (699), an average incidence of 22% Aspergillus was detected in poultry farms, while the prevalence at swine farms was 14%. The most frequently isolated Aspergillus species were A. versicolor, A. flavus, and A. fumigatus. In poultry farms, A. flavus presented the highest level of airborne spores (>2000 CFU/m 3), whereas in swine farms the highest was A. versicolor, with an incidence fourfold greater higher than the other mentioned species. Eighty workers in these settings were analyzed, ranging in age from 17 to 93 yr. The potentially hazardous exposure of poultry workers to mold allergens using sensitization markers was evaluated. Although no significant positive association was found between fungal contamination and sensitization to fungal antigens, a high incidence of respiratory symptoms in professionals without asthma was observed, namely, wheezing associated with dyspnea (23.8%) and dyspnea after strenuous activities (12.3%), suggesting underdiagnosed respiratory disturbances. Further, 32.5% of all exposed workers noted an improvement of respiratory ability during resting and holidays. From all the analyzed workers, seven were previously diagnosed with asthma and four reported the first attack after the age of 40 yr, which may be associated with their occupational exposure. Some of the fungi, namely, the Aspergillus species detected in this study, are known to induce hypersensitivity reactions in humans. This study confirmed the presence and distribution of Aspergillus in Portuguese poultry and swine farms, suggesting a possible occupational health problem and raising the need for preventive and protective measures to apply to avoid exposure in both occupational settings. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC. Source

Viegas C.,A-D Technologies | Carolino E.,A-D Technologies | Sabino R.,Nacional Institute Of Health Dr Ricardo Jorge | Viegas S.,A-D Technologies | Verissimo C.,Nacional Institute Of Health Dr Ricardo Jorge
Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health - Part A: Current Issues | Year: 2013

Poor air quality in a pig-confinement building may potentially place farmers at higher health risk than other workers for exposure to airborne pollutants that may reach infectious levels. The aim of this study was to assess worker exposure to fungi in indoor environments in Portuguese swine buildings. Air samples from 7 swine farms were collected at a flow rate of 140 L/min, at 1 m height, onto malt extract agar supplemented with chloramphenicol (MEA). Surfaces samples of the same indoor sites were obtained by swabbing the surfaces. Samples from the floor covering were also collected from four of seven swine farms. All collected samples were incubated at 27°C for 5-7 days. After lab processing and incubation of obtained samples, quantitative colony-forming units (CFU)/m3, CFU/cm2, and CFU/g and qualitative results were determined with identification of isolated fungal species. Aspergillus versicolor was the most frequent species found in air (21%), followed by Scopulariopsis brevicaulis (17%) and Penicillium sp. (14%). Aspergillus versicolor was also the most frequent species noted on surfaces (26.6%), followed by Cladosporium sp. (22.4%) and Scopulariopsis brevicaulis (17.5%). Chrysosporium was the most frequently found genera in the new floor covering (38.5%), while Mucor was the most prevalent genera (25.1%) in used floor covering. Our findings corroborate a potential occupational health threat due to fungi exposure and suggest the need for a preventive strategy. © 2013 Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Source

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