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An Outbreak of 400 Cases of Lipoatrophia Semicircularis in Barcelona: Effectiveness of Control Measures

Pérez, Anna MPH; Nebot, Manel MD, PhD; Maciá, Montse MEng; Panadés, Rafael MDon Behalf of the Collaborative Group for the Evaluation of LS Outbreak Control Measures

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: July 2010 - Volume 52 - Issue 7 - p 751-757
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181e80747
Original Articles

Objective: From February 2007 to October 2008, 1137 cases of lipoatrophia semicircularis were registered in distinct workplaces (WPs) in Barcelona. A protocol to establish control measures was designed. This study pretends to evaluate the effectiveness of these measures.

Methods: In this case study, the outbreak course in relation to the implemented measures (relative humidity >50%, ground-mass electrical discharge, and avoidance of sharp-ended table edges) was analyzed. The study population consisted of 417 workers from four different WPs diagnosed between February 2007 and October 2008.

Results: Cumulative incidences were 61.6% (WP1), 24.1% (WP2), 8.8% (WP4), and 5.5% (WP3). Based on discharges confirmed by medical services, healing rate was highest in WP1 (93%), followed by WP2 (82%), WP4 (62%), and WP3 (22%).

Conclusions: When the three basic measures were promptly and jointly applied, 90% of the cases were resolved within 6 months.

From the Evaluation and Intervention Methods Service (Ms Pérez, Dr Nebot), Public Health Agency, Barcelona, Spain; CIBERESP Ciber Epidemiología y Salud Pública (Ms Pérez, Dr Nebot), Spain; and Center for Occupational Safety and Health of Barcelona (Ms Maciá, Dr Panadés), Barcelona, Spain.

Address correspondence to: Anna Pérez, MPH, Pl. Lesseps 1, 08023, Barcelona, Spain; E-mail:

©2010The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine