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The Role of Bacterial Endotoxins in Occupational Diseases Caused by Inhaling Vegetable Dusts
  1. B. Pernis,
  2. E. C. Vigliani,
  3. C. Cavagna,
  4. M. Finulli
  1. Institute of Industrial Medicine of the University of Milan*


    A large group of occupational diseases connected with the inhalation of various vegetable dusts, especially in the textile industry, have certain main symptoms in common such as fever, coughing, dyspnoea, and general malaise. In most cases the symptoms are more prominent on Mondays or on resuming work after one or more days of interruption. The symptomatology of these diseases and the Monday effect leads to the hypothesis that they are due to the inhalation of the endotoxins of gram-negative bacteria that contaminate the various vegetable materials, the Monday effect being connected with the phenomenon of tolerance to the endotoxins. Support for this view came from the demonstration of the constant presence of endotoxins in cotton dusts in textile mills and from the study of the effects of the inhalation of purified endotoxins in rabbits and man.

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    • * Work of the Section for the Study of Occupational Health in the Textile Industry.