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Sensitisation to mites in laboratory animal workers with rhinitis
  1. P Ruoppi1,
  2. T Koistinen1,
  3. S Pennanen2
  1. 1Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland
  2. 2Kuopio Regional Institute of Occupational Health, Kuopio, Finland
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr P Ruoppi
 Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland, PO Box 1777, SF-70211 Kuopio, Finland;


Aims: To determine the frequency of sensitisation to mites among rhinitic laboratory animal workers and to clarify whether sensitisation could be occupational.

Methods: Skin prick tests (SPT) were performed in 40 subjects who were working with laboratory animals in Kuopio University research units and who had been referred to Kuopio University Hospital for work related rhinitis. The SPT panel consisted of three storage mites, two house dust mites, 11 other common environmental airborne allergens, latex, and 2–4 individually relevant laboratory animals. To determine signs of mites in animal facilities, guanine was determined in 22 dust samples taken from feedstuffs or bedding material used for laboratory animals and from rooms where these materials were stored and handled.

Results: Positive SPT results were found in 35 out of 40 workers: in 14 for storage mites, four for house dust mites, 25 for other common aeroallergens, as well as positive reactions to laboratory animals in 19 individuals. The guanine test was positive, indicating the presence of mite derived material in 21 out of 22 dust samples.

Conclusions: This study suggests that subjects who are occupationally exposed to laboratory animals are also exposed to mite derived allergens. Sensitisation to mites is common and may be work related.

  • HDM, house dust mite
  • LAA, laboratory animal allergy
  • SPT, skin prick test
  • guanine test
  • occupational
  • work related

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