30% of pet shop workers report airway symptoms at work and are sensitized to animal allergens

Allergy to laboratory animals (mice, etc.) is a well-known occupational hazard. Less is known about allergic sensitization and respiratory symptoms among pet shop staff.

59 workers from 24 pet shops were included in this study from Sweden:

- 53% reported nasal symptoms
- 34% had eye symptoms
- 22% had experienced symptoms indicating asthma - only 7% were previously diagnosed with asthma
- 30% reported respiratory symptoms at work, mostly against rodents, birds, insects, and hay
- 29% were sensitized to work-related allergens, mainly rodents and fodder insects, e.g., Zophobas

Atopy and total IgE higher than 100 kU/l increased prevalence of pet shop sensitization.

A third of the pet shop workers reported airway symptoms at work or were sensitized, sometimes to unusual pet shop allergens, especially among atopics. Allergen avoidance among pet shop staff is important but may be difficult to achieve.

Mind map: Indoor allergens (click to enlarge the image).

Mind map: Animal Dander Avoidance (click to enlarge the image).


Renström A, Olsson M, Hedrén M, Johansson SGO, van Hage M. Pet shop workers: exposure, sensitization, and work-related symptoms. Allergy 2011; DOI: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.2011.02591.x.

Image source: Wikipedia, GNU Free Documentation License.

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