Asthma in brewers


Occupations
  • Brewing trade
Agents
Aspergillus, Barley, Chloramine, Hops, Malt, Yeast.
 
Incidence
The most commonly reported cases of asthma occur during grinding. In the pubs or bars, the cases of asthma are rare since only the contamination by aspergillus is dangerous.
 
Studies on brewery employees have shown that subjects with positive skin tests more frequently develop asthma than those with negative skin tests. Smoking is an aggravating co-factor.
 
Conditions
Asthma develops during the milling of the roasted malt. Moulds are used to produce citric acid during the fermentation and can cause pathologies themselves. Finally, some cases of asthma following inhalation of chroramine have been reported in breweries.
 
Symptoms
Moderate asthma, rhinitis, indigestion.
 
Diagnostic methods
Skin tests and CAP RAST are available for Aspergillus. Apart from this mould, the most frequently used skin prick tests are: barley, hops and brewing yeast.
 
The diagnosis is performed by peak flow measurements in the workplace or bronchial provocation tests in the hospital.

References

  1. Am. J. Ind. Med. 1999,35:68 Godnic Cvar J. et al.
  2. Occup. Med. 1997,47:397 - Heaney L.G. et al.
  3. Br. Med. J. 1979,2:10 - Bourne M.S. et al..

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