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Surveillance and health care
  1. A. G. Kraut
  1. University of Manitoba

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    Occupational diseases have been estimated to cause considerable morbidity and mortality in developed countries. Limited data are available on the frequency of occupational diseases in Canada. The purpose of this study is to determine what proportion of hospitalisations of men to the general medical wards from the emergency room in a large tertiary care hospital is related to occupational exposures.


    A trained nurse took a standardised occupational history on a random selection of men who were hospitalised. This information was linked with demographic variables, admission diagnoses, co-morbidities and outcome variables on the internal medicine database which is maintained on all admissions. Each participant’s diagnoses and occupational history were reviewed by the principal investigator, a certified specialist in internal medicine and occupational medicine to determine if the admission was definitely, probably, or possibly related to occupational exposures. When required, the hospital chart was reviewed and/or the participant contacted by telephone to obtain additional information. The proportion of all the study participants thought to have an admission or co-morbidity due to occupational exposures was then calculated.


    Of 153 men entered into the study, none had a condition that was definitely related to their work. Eight individuals (5.2%) had a condition that was possibly or probably related to their work. These included five cases of cancer, two of heart disease and one case each of inflammatory bowel disease and COPD. One individual had two conditions. For four individuals this condition directly led to the admission and in the other four it was thought to be a significant co-morbidity and indirect cause of the admission. In another 10 individuals an occupational cause for a medical condition was considered, but on review of the chart or interview with the patient the case was ultimately not felt to be work related.


    Occupational exposures probably or possibly …

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