Institute of Community Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Tromsoe, Tromsoe, Norway; Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University Hospital North Norway, Tromsoe, Norway. Olga.Shiryaeva@uit.no
Trawler fishermen and merchant seafarers have tough working conditions. While workers in both occupations are exposed to a challenging environment, trawler fishermen are also engaged in onboard fish processing, which is considered to be additional exposure. The aim of the present study was to characterize respiratory health status in both groups of seamen.
In total 127 trawler fishermen and 118 merchant seafarers were enrolled during their regular medical health examinations. The study protocol comprised a standardized questionnaire, lung function test and measurements of fractional nitric oxide concentrations (FE(NO) ) in exhaled air.
Doctor-diagnosed asthma was reported only by trawler fishermen (3.9%, P?
Respiratory outcomes and work-related factors were studied in two seafood worker populations representing different occupational environments.
Levels of fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FENO), spirometric values, prevalence of respiratory symptoms, and self-evaluated exposures were compared between 139 Norwegian salmon workers and 127 Russian trawler workers.
Increased odds ratios (ORs) of shortness of breath with wheezing and prolonged cough as general respiratory symptoms were found in salmon workers, while increased ORs of work-related dry cough and running nose were found in trawler fishermen. Both worker groups ranked "cold work environment," "use of disinfectants," and "contaminated indoor air" as the first, second, and third most important causes of work-related respiratory symptoms, respectively. Fractional exhaled nitric oxide levels were higher in asthmatic trawler workers compared to asthmatic salmon workers.
Respiratory symptoms commonly associated with obstructive airway diseases were more prevalent in salmon workers, while symptoms commonly associated with asthma and short-term effects of cold air exposure were more prevalent in trawler workers.
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