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Prevalence and diagnostic values of laboratory animal allergy among research personnel

Kang, Sung-YoonWon, Ha-KyeongPark, So-YoungLee, Sang MinLee, Sang Pyo
Issue Date
The Allergy and Immunology Society of Thailand
Allergy; Laboratory animal; Prevalence; Serum specific IgE; Skin prick test
Asian Pacific Journal of Allergy and Immunology
Journal Title
Asian Pacific Journal of Allergy and Immunology
Abstract Background: Laboratory animal allergy (LAA) has not been sufficiently investigated, although LAA is a relatively common work-related condition and important occupational hazard. Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the prevalence of LAA and analyze the diagnostic value of serum specific IgE(sIgE) using the skin prick test (SPT) as a comparative standard. Methods: Korean laboratory animal researchers who attended an annual symposium were requested to answer questionnaires regarding emographic characteristics, laboratory animal exposure, and symptoms related to laboratory animal exposure. A total of 213 participants underwent a SPT with mouse and rat epithelial allergen extract. We measured sIgE against rodent urine, epithelium, and serum allergens from 63 participants. SPT outcome served as the comparison method. Results: Among 223 participants, 213 had direct/indirect exposure to mice or rats, and 30% and 14% of them complained of allergic symptoms after exposure to mouse and rat, respectively. Sensitization rates were 28% for mouse epithelium and 23% for rat epithelium. Compared to a positive SPT with wheal ≥ 3 mm, presence of sIgE against rodent allergens showed a higher positive predictive value of 87–91% at a cut-off level of 0.35 KUA/L. Agreement between SPT and sIgE test was determined to be fair to moderate. Conclusion: Sensitization and allergy to mouse and rat were prevalent among laboratory personnel in Korea. When evaluating cases of potential LAA, the sIgE test can provide added diagnostic value if the skin test is positive. Careful interpretation of two tests is required to accurately diagnose LAA.
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