Pyroglyphid Mites as a Source of Work-Related Allergens

Jelena Macan 1 , Božica Kanceljak-Macan 1  and Sanja Milković-Kraus 1
  • 1 Institute for Medical Research and Occupational Health, Zagreb, Croatia

Pyroglyphid Mites as a Source of Work-Related Allergens

Pyroglyphid mites are primarily associated with allergen exposure at home; hence the name house dust mites. However, we have found numerous studies reporting pyroglyhid mite levels in public and occupational settings. This review presents the findings of house dust mite allergens (family Pyroglyphidae, species Dermatophagoides) as potential work-related risk factors and proposes occupations at risk of house dust mite-related diseases. Pyroglyphid mites or their allergens are found in various workplaces, but clinically relevant exposures have been observed in hotels, cinemas, schools, day-care centres, libraries, public transportation (buses, trains, taxies, and airplanes), fishing-boats, submarines, poultry farms, and churches. Here we propose a classification of occupational risk as low (occasional exposure to mite allergen levels up to 2 μg g-1), moderate (exposure between 2 μg g-1 and 10 μg g-1), and high (exposure >10 μg g-1). The classification of risk should include factors relevant for indoor mite population (climate, building characteristics, and cleaning schedule). To avoid development or aggravation of allergies associated with exposure to house dust mites at work, occupational physicians should assess exposure risk at work, propose proper protection, provide vocational guidance to persons at risk and conduct pre-employment and periodic examinations to diagnose new allergy cases. Protection at work should aim to control dust mite levels at work. Measures may include proper interior design and regular cleaning and building maintenance.

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