Prevalence of self-reported respiratory disease symptoms among veterinarians in the Southern Netherlands.

M.J.M. Tielen, A.R.W. Elbers, M. Snijdelaar, P.J.M.M. Gulick, L. Preller, P.J. Blaauw

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    19 Citations (Scopus)


    In June 1991, 831 veterinarians registered in the Southern Netherlands were mailed a questionnaire to obtain details of work practice and health problems. One hundred fifty-two veterinarians were not eligible (retired or not working regularly), 497 practitioners returned a complete questionnaire (73% response rate). The purpose was to assess the prevalence of respiratory disease symptoms (RDS) and to compare the prevalence of RDS between occupational specialties and with a group of swine farmers. The professional specialty of each veterinarian was grouped as: small-animal practice (17%), large-animal practice (51%), mixed-animal practice (14%), and other practice (i.e., government, industry) (18%). Adjusted for age, gender, smoking, history of atopy, and use of respiratory protective devices, large-animal practitioners had a two times higher odds of chronic cough (OR = 1.8, 95% CI 1.1-2.8) or chronic phlegm production (OR = 2.1, 95% CI 1.1-3.7) and a three times higher odds of chest wheezing (OR = 2.8, 95% CI 1.3-6.3) than veterinarians with another specialty. Modelling the occurrence of RDS in veterinarians with exposure variables indicated that working more than 20 hr per week in swine confinement buildings increased the odds of occurrence of chronic cough and chronic phlegm production approximately three times, in addition to a significant effect of smoking. Besides a significant effect of smoking and history of atopy, no exposure variables other than occupation were associated with occurrence of asthmatic attacks in swine farmers and large-animal practitioners. Large-animal practitioners had a two times higher odds of asthmatic attacks (OR = 1.8, 95% CI 1.1-2.9) than swine farmers. Large-animal practitioners have a considerably higher proportion of symptoms like cough, phlegm production, a stuffed up nose, sneezing, and tearing eyes than small-animal practitioners during, and 4-8 hr after, working with animals.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)201-207
    JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1996


    • atopy
    • respiratory protective device
    • respiratory symptoms
    • smoking
    • veterinary practitioners


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