Purpose of review: To identify the similarities and differences between nonwork-related adult-onset and occupational asthma from various literature sources published between 2010 and 2013, with respect to the epidemiology, phenotypic manifestations, and risk factors for the disease.
Recent findings: The incidence of adult-onset asthma from pooled population studies is estimated to be 3.6 per 1000 person-years in men and 4.6 cases per 1000 person-years in women. In adults with new-onset asthma, occupational asthma is a common asthma phenotype. Work-related factors are estimated to account for up to 25% of adult cases of asthma and occupational asthma comprising about 16% of adult-onset asthma cases. The review finds that nonwork-related adult-onset asthma is a heterogenous entity and that environmental exposure factors (aside from occupational exposures) appear to have a lesser role than host factors when compared with occupational asthma.
Summary: Large-scale general population studies are needed to identify the similarities and differences between nonwork-related adult-onset and occupational asthma, which may enable a better understanding of these entities and promote efforts towards holistic management approaches for these asthma phenotypes.
aCentre for Occupational and Environmental Health Research, School of Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
bU1018, Respiratory and Environmental Epidemiology Team, Inserm, Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health (CESP)
cUniversite Paris Sud 11, UMRS 1018, Villejuif, Paris, France
Correspondence to Mohamed F. Jeebhay, Professor, Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health Research, School of Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Cape Town, Room 4.47, Fourth Level, Falmouth Building, Anzio Road, Observatory, 7925, Cape Town, South Africa. Tel: +27 21 4066309/6300; fax: +27 21 4066607; e-mail: Mohamed.Jeebhay@uct.ac.za