Asthma caused by lycopodium powder


Occupations
  • Condom manufacturing industry
  • Cosmetics industry
  • Dentist
  • Fireworks manufacturer
  • Pharmaceutical industry
Agents
Lycopodium
 
Incidence
Incidence: dependent upon the number of atopic subjects in the work place.
 
IgE-dependent mechanism. Lycopodium powder is used in a large number of industries, therefore many workers may be affected. Recently, it has been widely used as a powder covering for latex items. The incidence is higher for rhino-conjunctivitis than for asthma.
 
Conditions
Lycopodium powder (lycopodium clavatus) is derived from plant spores.
 
In factories manufacturing condoms, those at highest risk are in the packaging area.
 
Symptoms
Rhinitis, conjunctivitis and asthma occur linked to work; they are typical allergic reactions.
 
Diagnostic methods
Skin tests: by scarification (in the past). Currently, patch tests with Finn chambers are routinely used. The intensity of the response to these tests is not correlated with the clinical symptoms, whether these be bronchial or ENT.
 
Immunological assay: RAST/CAP RAST lycopodium.
 
Bronchial provocation test (in hospital).

References

  1. Allergy 2000,55:836 Rask-Andersen A. et al.
  2. Thorax 1993,48:774
  3. Rev. Fr. Allergol. 1984,24:85

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