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Costs of occupational asthma and of occupational chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Moscato, Giannaa; Rampulla, Cirob

Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology: April 2003 - Volume 3 - Issue 2 - p 109-114
Occupational disease
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Purpose of review The purpose of this review is to summarize the most recent findings on the costs of occupational asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, illustrating the different approaches for estimates, the results and the social and financial implications.

Recent findings Many published data in the literature show that occupational asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease represent a relevant proportion of the total prevalence of these diseases. Previous findings demonstrated that occupational asthma has adverse economic and employment consequences for the worker, and a significant cost related to the claims. Recent studies using a standard method have specifically estimated the cost of the proportion of cases of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease attributable to occupational exposure out of the total costs of these diseases, and demonstrated that it is significant. Some recent data indicate a beneficial outcome of occupational asthma and a reduction in the number of the claims from primary and secondary preventive intervention at the workplace.

Summary In conclusion, occupational asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are likely to pay a substantial contribution to the total costs of the two disorders. These costs are expected to rise with the increasing prevalence of the diseases. Intervention strategies for effective control and prevention at the workplace should lessen the burden of long-term illness and impact on public health costs.

aAllergy and Immunology Unit and bDepartment of Pneumology, Fondazione ‘Salvatore. Maugeri’, Institute of Care and Research, Scientific Institute of Pavia, Pavia, Italy

Correspondence to Gianna Moscato, MD, Servizio Autonomo di Allergologia e Immunologia Clinica, Fondazione Salvatore Maugeri, IRCCS, Via Ferrata 4, 27100 Pavia, Italy Tel: +39 0382 592941; fax: +39 0382 592086; e-mail: gmoscato@fsm.it

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.