Asymptomatic sensitisation to grapes in a sample of workers in the wine industry
- Correspondence to: Prof. D Kalogeromitros Ass. Professor of Allergy, Allergy Department, “Andreas Syngros Hospital”, 5 Ionos Dragoumi str, 16121, Athens Greece;
- Accepted 24 March 2004
Aims: To assess the prevalence of sensitisation to grapes (Vitis vinifera var. agiorghitiko) in a population with repeated exposure to grape allergens through direct cutaneous contact as well as through the gastrointestinal tract.
Methods: One hundred and twenty subjects were enrolled in each of four groups: grape harvesters, winery workers in selection of grapes, winery workers operating de-stemming/crushing/pressing machines, and administrative personnel. Sensitisation to grapes was examined by skin prick-to-prick tests with fresh fruit and juice.
Results: Eight harvesters and five workers in grape selection had positive reaction to the grapes tested. No machine operators or administrative personnel had positive tests. The likelihood of sensitisation was estimated at 3.7% per year of occupation by logistic regression analysis. None of the employees reported symptoms associated with sensitisation to grapes.
Conclusion: Asymptomatic sensitisation to grapes was detected only in workers handling the fruit, suggesting that sensitisation is more likely to occur through cutaneous exposure and/or minor wounding than through the gastrointestinal tract. Prevalence rates were high and the clinical impact needs to be further investigated.