Introduction Reversible, modifiable risk factors are associated with a greater risk of developing community acquired pneumonia (CAP). Welders of working age are 3.5 times more likely to die from pneumococcal pneumonia than workers in other jobs. A higher risk of CAP is seen in workers exposed to any type of metal fume and this excess risk is limited to below the age of 65 years, indicating a reversible susceptibility. Other causes of CAP may also be related to occupation or recent working conditions.
Methods At 12 sites across Canada patients admitted to hospital with CAP have been recruited to participate in a wider study. As a pilot we added questions regarding occupation. The information was coded using the Canadian National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2011. Data were used to calculate percentages and compare occurrences of pneumonia across occupations.
Results We obtained occupation data on 171 cases (now 671). The NOC codes were aggregated to the ten single digit NOC codes. Those in ‘trades, and related fields’ comprised 26% (n=44) of cases when including retired workers. There was a significantly greater proportion of cases 32% (n=29, p=0.05, Chi=3.834) amongst current workers in ‘trades and related occupations’ compared to workers in all other jobs 68% (n=62). There were five single digit NOC codes including ‘trades and related occupations’ where the proportion of cases amongst current workers was higher than in those retired.
Conclusion Our data suggests workers in ‘trades and related fields’ are more at risk of CAP with the proportion affected exceeding that of those employed in this group, 25.5% (StatCan, 2011). Few studies have analysed occupations and exposure as risk factors for developing CAP. The reduction of cases in those retired ‘trades and related occupations’ compared to current workers may represent an occupational effect.
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