Epidemiology of Occupational Asthma
Occupational asthma is asthma induced by an agent inhaled at work. This definition implies that an agent inhaled at work has caused or initiated the process of airway inflammation, which is characteristic of asthma (desquamative eosinophilic bronchitis); it distinguishes agents which cause occupational asthma from those which provoke asthma, or cause exacerbations, in those with pre-existing disease. Inducers of occupational asthma can cause asthma  through direct injury to the airway epithelium by a respiratory irritant inhaled in toxic concentration (irritant-induced asthma); or  as the outcome of an acquired specific hypersensitivity response to (a) an inhaled protein allergen or (b) low molecular weight chemical sensitiser (hypersensitivity-induced asthma).
KeywordsAirway Hyperresponsiveness Occupational Asthma Snow Crab Latex Allergy European Community Respiratory Health Survey
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