Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Respiratory Impairment in Norwegian Salmon Industry Workers: A Cross-Sectional Study

Shiryaeva, Olga MD; Aasmoe, Lisbeth PhD; Straume, Bjorn MD, PhD; Bang, Berit Elisabeth PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: December 2010 - Volume 52 - Issue 12 - p 1167–1172
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181fc5e35
Original Articles

Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess the respiratory status in salmon-processing workers.

Methods: The study population was composed of 139 salmon workers and 214 controls. A study protocol comprised a questionnaire, spirometry, measurements of fractional exhaled nitric oxide concentration, and total and specific immunoglobulin E analyses.

Results: Adjusted odds ratio of general respiratory symptoms ranged from 2.2 for wheezing to 3.6 for daily morning cough. Salmon workers were found to have an excess of work-related respiratory symptoms (2.9 ≤ adjusted odds ratio ≤ 13.6) and reduced lung function. Positive interaction of smoking and exposure was found for work-related upper respiratory symptoms and shortness of breath. Fractional exhaled nitric oxide concentration levels were higher in controls. None from the controls had salmon-specific immunoglobulin E, compared with 2.2% of salmon workers.

Conclusions: Salmon-processing workers exhibit impaired respiratory status and are more likely to be sensitized to salmon.

From the Department of Community Medicine (Drs Shiryaeva and Straume), Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Tromso, Norway; Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (Drs Shiryaeva, Aasmoe, and Bang), University Hospital North Norway, Tromso, Norway; Medical Pharmacology and Toxicology (Drs Aasmoe and Bang), Department of Medical Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Tromso, Norway.

Address correspondence to: Berit Elisabeth Bang, PhD, Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University Hospital North Norway, Sykehusveien 38, 9038 Tromso, Norway; E-mail:

This work was supported by Northern Norway Regional Health Authority (Helse Nord RHF), Norway.

©2010The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine