Veterinarians and their assistants work in an environment with a multitude of biohazards from zoonotic infections to allergens and irritants such as animal proteins, dirt, and bio-aerosol dusts. In the work, chemicals like medications, disinfectants, soaps, and insecticides are handled. The causes of immediate (IgE-mediated) contact allergy (protein contact dermatitis or contact urticaria) are animal proteins and latex. Skin prick tests and specific IgE measurements are used to diagnose this type of allergy. Causes for allergic contact dermatitis (delayed allergy) are mainly antibiotics and other medications, rubber chemicals, disinfectants, and biocides. Patch tests are used in diagnosing allergic contact dermatitis. Skin irritation or irritant contact dermatitis can also be caused by soaps and frequent handwashing, dirt and dust, insecticides, other chemicals and protective glove materials. Atopy is a risk factor for animal sensitization and respiratory symptoms can precede skin symptoms by many years. Dermatophytoses are the most common of the numerous zoonotic infections reported in veterinarians. Multiresistant bacterial strains have also emerged as possible zoonotic infections of those handling farm and companion animals. Individually tailored skin tests for both immediate and delayed allergy and often also specific IgE measurements are needed for diagnosing a skin disease in veterinary occupations.
KeywordsAmniotic fluid Animal allergens Antibiotics Brucellosis Contact urticaria Cryptosporidiosis Disinfectants Insecticides Latex Listeria Multiresistant staphylococci Parasitic infestations Patient-supplied materials Protective gloves Protein contact dermatitis Respiratory allergy Salmonella Scabies Zoonotic infections
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