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The Prevalence of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in Latino Poultry-Processing Workers and Other Latino Manual Workers

Cartwright, Michael S. MD; Walker, Francis O. MD; Blocker, Jill N. MS; Schulz, Mark R. PhD; Arcury, Thomas A. PhD; Grzywacz, Joseph G. PhD; Mora, Dana MPH; Chen, Haiying PhD; Marín, Antonio J. MA; Quandt, Sara A. PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: February 2012 - Volume 54 - Issue 2 - p 198–201
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31823fdf53
Original Articles

Objective: To determine the prevalence of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) in Latino poultry-processing workers.

Methods: Symptoms and nerve conduction studies were used to prospectively assess 287 Latino poultry-processing workers and 226 Latinos in other manual-labor occupations.

Results: The prevalence of CTS was higher in poultry-processing (8.7%) compared with nonpoultry manual workers (4.0%; P < 0.0001). The adjusted odds ratio for the prevalence of CTS in poultry workers was 2.51 (95% confidence interval, 1.80–3.50) compared with nonpoultry workers. Within the poultry workers, those who performed packing, sanitation, and chilling had a trend toward less CTS than those who performed tasks requiring more repetitive and strenuous hand movements.

Discussion: Latino poultry-processing workers have a high prevalence of CTS, which likely results from the repetitive and strenuous nature of the work.

From the Department of Neurology (Drs Cartwright and Walker), Center for Worker Health (Drs Cartwright, Walker, Arcury, Grzywacz, Chen, and Quandt), Division of Public Health Sciences, Department of Biostatistical Sciences (Ms Blocker and Dr Chen), Department of Family and Community Medicine (Drs Arcury and Grzywacz and Mr Marín), and Division of Public Health Sciences, Department of Epidemiology and Prevention (Dr Quandt and Ms Mora), Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina; and Department of Public Health Education (Dr Schultz), University of North Carolina Greensboro, Greensboro, NC.

Address correspondence to: Michael S. Cartwright, MD, Department of Neurology, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Main Floor Reynolds Tower, Winston-Salem, NC 27157 E-mail:

Copyright © 2012 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine