Asthma and alveolitis caused by insect proteins, arthropods and shellfish

  • Agronomist
  • Baker
  • Cheese maker
  • Docker
  • Entomologist
  • Farmer
  • Food industry
  • Insect breeding
  • Laboratory staff
  • Manure spreader
  • Service personnel
  • Silage worker
  • Sericultur
  • Silk manufacture
Arthropods, Bombyx, Cockroach, Colorado beetle, Coleoptera, Dictyoptere, Mites, Hymenoptera, Lepidoptera, Locust, Orthoptere, Phrygane, Shellfish, Silk worm, Weevil.
Incidence: 10-15% for exposed subjects. With the exception of the pesticide industry and laboratories directly concerned with insects, the risk is directly related to the health and hygiene precautions employed.
The allergens involved are usually the glycoproteins of the cuticles, blood lymph system or excreta.
The immunological mechanism is the type 1 (IgE) class in the case of asthma.
Atopy is frequently encountered, but in other cases all the immune response reactions may occur.
Exposure to risk is either unintentional (nuisance), or through professional activities: animal (insect) breeding, preparation of local pesticide compounds. Nowadays, cases of asthma and rhinitis occur in the breeding of arthropods used for biological purposes.
Asthma appears 1 to 2 years after initial exposure to the risk. It is associated with working habits, at least at the outset.
Diagnostic methods
Skin tests: IDR or skin prick tests depending on the type of allergen.
Immunological assays can be used (e.g.: house dust mite, grain weevil) for RAST/CAP RAST.
A bronchial provocation test (in hospital) and a medical history are definitive.


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As in all diagnostic testing, the diagnosis is made by the physican based on both test results and the patient history.