Although laboratory animal allergy (LAA) is a significant occupational hazard among workers exposed to laboratory animals, few studies have evaluated long-term risks to workers who remain in the workplace. This short-term focus has obscured the evaluation of subsequent animal allergies (secondary LAA). We analyzed surveillance data from a 10-year LAA prevention program to estimate incidence rates of primary and secondary LAA and to evaluate the effectiveness of the prevention program in reducing the development of primary LAA. The 10-year incidence rates of primary and secondary LAA were 1.34 (95% CI, 0.78–1.90) and 11 (95% CI, 7.4–14.6) cases per 100 person-years, respectively. The annual incidence of primary LAA was reduced from 3.6% to 0 in the first 5 years and did not rise above 1.2% over the remaining years, whereas the incidence of secondary LAA was greater than 8% in most years. These findings suggest that programs effective at preventing primary LAA may need to be evaluated for their effectiveness at protecting against further risk.
From the Department of Epidemiology, UNC School of Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (Ms. Goodno) and GlaxoSmithKline, Inc., Research Triangle Park, North Carolina (Dr Stave).
Address correspondence to: Leslie Goodno, Department of Epidemiology, CB #7435 McGavran-Greenberg Hall, UNC School of Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7435; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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