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Prevalence and Onset of Rhinitis and Conjunctivitis in Subjects with Occupational Asthma Caused by Trimellitic Anhydride (TMA)

Grammer, Leslie C. MD; Ditto, Anne M. MD; Tripathi, Anju MD; Harris, Kathleen E. BS

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: December 2002 - Volume 44 - Issue 12 - p 1179-1181
Original Articles

Individuals with occupational asthma may also report symptoms of rhinitis or conjunctivitis. The objective of this study was to investigate the prevalence of rhinitis and conjunctivitis in subjects with occupational asthma as a result of trimellitic anhydride (TMA). Additionally, we wanted to evaluate the onset of rhinitis and conjunctivitis symptoms as compared with the occupational asthma symptoms. In a case series design, we studied 25 consecutive employees with TMA-induced asthma; each of them had participated in an annual surveillance program in which they were queried about rhinitis, conjunctivitis, and other respiratory symptoms. Twenty-two of the 25 (88%) reported rhinitis symptoms whereas 17 of the 25 (68%) reported conjunctivitis symptoms. In 17 of the 22 (77%) individuals with rhinitis and asthma, the rhinitis symptoms preceded the asthma symptoms. In 14 of the 17 (82%) individuals with conjunctivitis, those symptoms preceded the asthma symptoms. In summary, symptoms of rhinitis and conjunctivitis are common in subjects with occupational asthma because of TMA and often precede the respiratory symptoms.

From the Division of Allergy-Immunology and the Ernest S. Bazley Asthma and Allergic Diseases Center of the Department of Medicine of Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, Illinois.

Address correspondence to: Leslie C. Grammer, MD, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Allergy-Immunology, MC S207 Tarry Building 3–713, 303 E Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60611; e-mail: l-grammer@northwestern.edu.

Supported by the Ernest S. Bazley grant to Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Northwestern University Medical School, and by the BP Amoco Corporation.

Copyright © by American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

Copyright © 2002 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine