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      Occupational exposure to dust and to fumes, work as a welder and invasive pneumococcal disease risk


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          Occupational exposures to metal fumes have been associated with increased pneumonia risk, but the risk of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) has not been characterised previously.


          We studied 4438 cases aged 20–65 from a Swedish registry of invasive infection caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae. The case index date was the date the infection was diagnosed. Six controls for each case, matched for gender, age and region of residency, were selected from the Swedish population registry. Each control was assigned the index date of their corresponding case to define the study observation period. We linked cases and controls to the Swedish registries for socioeconomic status (SES), occupational history and hospital discharge. We applied a job–exposure matrix to characterise occupational exposures. We used conditional logistic analyses, adjusted for comorbidities and SES, to estimate the OR of IPD and the subgroup pneumonia–IPD, associated with selected occupations and exposures in the year preceding the index date.


          Welders manifested increased risk of IPD (OR 2.99, 95% CI 2.09 to 4.30). Occupational exposures to fumes and silica dust were associated with elevated odds of IPD (OR 1.11, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.21 and OR 1.33, 95% CI 1.11 to 1.58, respectively). Risk associated with IPD with pneumonia followed a similar pattern with the highest occupational odds observed among welders and among silica dust exposed.


          Work specifically as a welder, but also occupational exposures more broadly, increase the odds for IPD. Welders, and potentially others with relevant exposures, should be offered pneumococcal vaccination.

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          Most cited references23

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          Cigarette smoking and invasive pneumococcal disease. Active Bacterial Core Surveillance Team.

          Approximately half of otherwise healthy adults with invasive pneumococcal disease are cigarette smokers. We conducted a population-based case-control study to assess the importance of cigarette smoking and other factors as risk factors for pneumococcal infections. We identified immunocompetent patients who were 18 to 64 years old and who had invasive pneumococcal disease (as defined by the isolation of Streptococcus pneumoniae from a normally sterile site) by active surveillance of laboratories in metropolitan Atlanta, Baltimore, and Toronto. Telephone interviews were conducted with 228 patients and 301 control subjects who were reached by random-digit dialing. Fifty-eight percent of the patients and 24 percent of the control subjects were current smokers. Invasive pneumococcal disease was associated with cigarette smoking (odds ratio, 4.1; 95 percent confidence interval, 2.4 to 7.3) and with passive smoking among nonsmokers (odds ratio, 2.5; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.2 to 5.1) after adjustment by logistic-regression analysis for age, study site, and independent risk factors such as male sex, black race, chronic illness, low level of education, and living with young children who were in day care. There were dose-response relations for the current number of cigarettes smoked per day, pack-years of smoking, and time since quitting. The adjusted population attributable risk was 51 percent for cigarette smoking, 17 percent for passive smoking, and 14 percent for chronic illness. Cigarette smoking is the strongest independent risk factor for invasive pneumococcal disease among immunocompetent, nonelderly adults. Because of the high prevalence of smoking and the large population attributable risk, programs to reduce both smoking and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke have the potential to reduce the incidence of pneumococcal disease.
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            The Occupational Burden of Nonmalignant Respiratory Diseases. An Official American Thoracic Society and European Respiratory Society Statement

            Rationale: Workplace inhalational hazards remain common worldwide, even though they are ameliorable. Previous American Thoracic Society documents have assessed the contribution of workplace exposures to asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease on a population level, but not to other chronic respiratory diseases. The goal of this document is to report an in-depth literature review and data synthesis of the occupational contribution to the burden of the major nonmalignant respiratory diseases, including airway diseases; interstitial fibrosis; hypersensitivity pneumonitis; other noninfectious granulomatous lung diseases, including sarcoidosis; and selected respiratory infections. Methods: Relevant literature was identified for each respiratory condition. The occupational population attributable fraction (PAF) was estimated for those conditions for which there were sufficient population-based studies to allow pooled estimates. For the other conditions, the occupational burden of disease was estimated on the basis of attribution in case series, incidence rate ratios, or attributable fraction within an exposed group. Results: Workplace exposures contribute substantially to the burden of multiple chronic respiratory diseases, including asthma (PAF, 16%); chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (PAF, 14%); chronic bronchitis (PAF, 13%); idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (PAF, 26%); hypersensitivity pneumonitis (occupational burden, 19%); other granulomatous diseases, including sarcoidosis (occupational burden, 30%); pulmonary alveolar proteinosis (occupational burden, 29%); tuberculosis (occupational burden, 2.3% in silica-exposed workers and 1% in healthcare workers); and community-acquired pneumonia in working-age adults (PAF, 10%). Conclusions: Workplace exposures contribute to the burden of disease across a range of nonmalignant lung conditions in adults (in addition to the 100% burden for the classic occupational pneumoconioses). This burden has important clinical, research, and policy implications. There is a pressing need to improve clinical recognition and public health awareness of the contribution of occupational factors across a range of nonmalignant respiratory diseases.
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              Epidemiology of invasive pneumococcal infections: manifestations, incidence and case fatality rate correlated to age, gender and risk factors

              Background Incidence, manifestations and case-fatality rate (CFR) of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) vary with age and comorbidities. New vaccines, changing age distribution, prolonged survival among immunocompromised patients and improved sepsis management have created a need for an update of basic facts to inform vaccine recommendations. Methods Age, gender and comorbidities were related to manifestations and death for 2977 consecutive patients with IPD in a Swedish region with 1.5 million inhabitants during 13 years before introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV) in the infant vaccination program. These data were related to population statistics and prevalence of several comorbidities, and compared with two previous studies giving a total follow-up of 45 years in the same area. Results The annual incidence was 15/100,000 for any IPD and 1.1/100,000 for meningitis; highest among elderly followed by children < 2 years. It was 2238/100,000 among myeloma patients, followed by chronic lymphatic leukemia, hemodialysis and lung cancer, but not elevated among asthma patients. CFR was 10 % among all patients, varying from 3 % below 18 years to 22 % ≥ 80 years. During 45 years, the IPD incidence increased threefold and CFR dropped from 20 to 10 %. Meningitis incidence remained stable (1.1/100,000/year) but CFR dropped from 33 to 13 %. IPD-specific mortality decreased among children <2 years from 3.1 to 0.46/100,000/year but tripled among those ≥65 years. Conclusions IPD incidence and CFR vary widely between age and risk groups and over time even without general infant vaccination. Knowledge about specific epidemiological characteristics is important for informing and evaluating vaccination policies.

                Author and article information

                Occup Environ Med
                Occup Environ Med
                Occupational and Environmental Medicine
                BMJ Publishing Group (BMA House, Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9JR )
                February 2020
                17 December 2019
                : 77
                : 2
                : 57-63
                [1 ] departmentOccupational and Environmental medicine , School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg , Gothenburg, Sweden
                [2 ] departmentDepartment of Occupational and Environmental Health , University of KwaZuluNatal , Durban, South Africa
                [3 ] departmentDivision of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Department of Medicine , University of California , San Francisco, California, United States
                [4 ] departmentSection of Occupational Medicine , Respiratory Diseases and Toxicology University of Perugia , Perugia, Italy
                [5 ] departmentDepartment of Infection Prevention and Control , Sahlgrenska University Hospital , Gothenburg, Sweden
                [6 ] departmentUnit for Surveillance and Coordination , Public Health Agency , Solna, Stockholm, Sweden
                [7 ] departmentDepartment of Occupational and environmental medicine , Sahlgrenska University Hospital , Gothenburg, Sweden
                Author notes
                [Correspondence to ] Professor Kjell Torén, Occupational and Environmental medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden; kjell.toren@ 123456amm.gu.se
                © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2020. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.

                This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.

                Funded by: Swedish state under the agreement between the Swedish government and the county councils, the ALF-agreement,;
                Funded by: Swedish Heart and Lung Foundation;
                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100006636, Forskningsrådet om Hälsa, Arbetsliv och Välfärd;
                Original research
                Custom metadata

                Occupational & Environmental medicine
                epidemiology,inorganic dusts,respiratory
                Occupational & Environmental medicine
                epidemiology, inorganic dusts, respiratory


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