Occupational Diseases and Environmental Medicine

Journal Information
ISSN / EISSN : 2333-3561 / 2333-357X
Current Publisher: Scientific Research Publishing, Inc. (10.4236)
Total articles ≅ 84
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Jeffrey Driver, George Lukasik, Marie Bourgeois, Patricia Tam, Raymond Harbison
Occupational Diseases and Environmental Medicine, Volume 9, pp 13-19; doi:10.4236/odem.2021.91002

A coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has caused a global pandemic and associated morbidity and mortality resultant from COVID-19. As a result of efforts to control direct (person to person) and indirect (contaminated objects, surfaces, indoor air) transmission of the virus, various interventions have been evaluated. Studies were conducted to evaluate the efficacy of commercially available chlorine dioxide (CD) products to reduce viral loads on PPE (face masks) and surfaces using a novel dry gas release intervention. The efficacy of CD slow release 30-day sachets was tested on N95 face masks inoculated with human coronavirus OC43 in suspension. One sachet was placed with an inoculated mask in plastic resealable bags. Three trials were completed using the original sachet where a mask and sachet were placed into a plastic bag for 13 hours per sachet age of 1 day, 14 days, and 30 days. The amount of CD generated during a 13-hour treatment period was 0.30 mg. The nominal concentration of CD was estimated to be 317 mg/m3. All three tests demonstrated at least a 99.91% reduction of viral loading in the mask versus a non-treated control. Efficacy of CD dry gas fast releasing pods (Ultrashok) for fumigation was also tested in a 1344 ft3 closed room. Two pods were placed in the space and CD surface virucidal efficacy was tested in three locations of the room after 1 hour and 2 hours of dwell time. The estimated nominal peak concentration was 15 ppmv in the room. The one-hour exposure saw a >99.91% OC43 reduction on surfaces and the two-hour exposure resulted in a >99.997% OC43 reduction on surfaces versus a non-treated control. These results indicate dry CD is highly effective against human coronavirus. CD was 99.91% effective for eliminating human coronavirus OC43 in both sachet and capsule fumigant form using both fast and slow release mechanisms. Rapid fumigant application is suitable for contaminated rooms, ambulances, emergency vehicles, and many types of PPE, most particularly porous PPE materials. The gaseous state of CD allows for rapid diffusion and transfer of the virucidal stable free radical to all surfaces of PPE and indoor areas that would favor virus survival. Additionally, this work suggests CD can be effective at levels with significant margins of safety (little to no exposure and rapid degradation of residuals) providing minimal public health risks associated with the use of CD.
Datonye Dennis Alasia, Omosivie Maduka
Occupational Diseases and Environmental Medicine, Volume 09, pp 20-32; doi:10.4236/odem.2021.91003

Introduction: The evaluation of COVID-19 prevalence among healthcare workers (HCW) within the general population of COVID-19 cases is an important epidemiologic variable. The objective of this study is to describe the prevalence and patterns of COVID-19 infection in HCWs amongst a group of patients receiving care for COVID-19 in Rivers state, Nigeria. Methods: This study was a prospective descriptive study of all consenting patients who received care through hospitals, designated for COVID-19 treatment in Rivers state either as in-patient or out-patient following a laboratory-confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 based on a positive SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR from April to September 2020. Results: A total number of 646 COVID-19 patients were enrolled over the study period with 98 (15.2%) HCWs in the patient population. The HCWs with COVID-19 consisted largely of Doctors 47 (47.9%), Nurses 30 (30.6%), and socio-sanitary and hygiene workers 10 (10.2%). There were 46 (46.9%) female HCWs, compared to Non-HCWs with 112 (21.1%), females, p = 0.000. Sixty-eight (69.4%) HCWs had a source of contact for infection established compared to Non-HCWs with an established source of contact in 181 (34.2%), p = 0.000. Eight (8.2%) HCWs had Severe disease compared to 52 (9.8%) Non-HCWs with severe disease, p = 0.670. The case fatality in HCWs was 1% compared to 1.9% in Non-HCWs, p = 0.554. Conclusion: The prevalence of COVID-19 among HCWs in the study location is high with clinical and clinical support staff particularly, doctors and nurses are at higher risk of COVID-19 infection. This calls for action to improve and prevent HCWs infections in hospital settings in addition to improving HCW infection prevention behaviour in the community. The intensification of risk communication, provision of protective equipment (PPE), and training on the appropriate use of PPE; in addition to routine surveillance for infection is recommended.
M. G. Karel Houessionon, Niladri Basu, Catherine Bouland, N. Marius Kedote, Benjamin Fayomi, N. Julius Fobil, Edgard-Marius Ouendo
Occupational Diseases and Environmental Medicine, Volume 09, pp 33-48; doi:10.4236/odem.2021.92004

Objective: The e-waste recycling is increasing worldwide, yet there remain outstanding environmental and occupational health concerns. Most research conducted on e-waste recycling has focused on only few countries (e.g., China, Ghana), thus there is a need to increase understanding of e-waste workers’ (recyclers’) knowledge and practices in other locations, that is purpose of this study. Methods: In a cross-sectional study conducted in Cotonou, Benin, 45 e-waste recyclers were interviewed from September to November 2018. Survey data was collected concerning their demographics, professional practices, and knowledge of occupational and environmental risks associated with e-waste recycling. Results: Most participants reported the following methods of material recovery of electronic items in declining orders: dismantling (97.8%) > sorting (91.1%) > incinerating (88.9%). Only 44.2% of the recyclers reported wearing ≥ 1 piece of personal protective equipment (PPE). More than 90% of e-waste workers noted that they disposed the e-waste in natural sites. About half, 46.7% believed that e-waste can pollute water and 71.1% considered that it can pollute air and soil. Recyclers reported several diseases including respiratory (67.4%), heart (62.8%), eye (65.1%), kidney (41.9%) and cancers (30.2%) could be linked to their work, respectively. Interestingly, we also found associations between the number of electronic items dismantled per month and self-report symptoms from the e-waste recyclers such as finding blood in urine and stool, wounds, dizziness, and itchy skin. Our results also indicated associations between the number of hours worked per day and blood in urine, dizziness, itchy skin and airway obstruction. Conclusion: To our knowledge this is the first study to interview e-waste workers in Benin. Doing this increase understanding of their work practices and knowledge to help inform intervention and prevention activities.
Erdenetsetseg Chuluun, Ganbayar Ganzorig, Bayartsetseg Ankhbayar, Ganbayar Luuzan, Davaalkham Dambadarjaa, Zorig Dungerdorj, Puntsag Chimedtseye
Occupational Diseases and Environmental Medicine, Volume 9, pp 1-12; doi:10.4236/odem.2021.91001

Introduction: Acute appendicitis (AA) in children is the primary cause of urgent surgery in pediatric patients. Diagnosis of AA continues to be a challenge, especially in the youngest children, who often present with abdominal pain accompanied by nonspecific signs. As epidemiological data on the relationship between acute appendicitis and environmental factors are relatively few and the issue is still controversial, we conducted this study which compared two groups of patients with complicated and noncomplicated appendicitis in a sample of patients admitted to a MNCMCH. The aim of this study was to determine the risk factors for complications in acute appendicitis in the paediatric population. Methods: Our study was performed on 1003 children admitted for suspected acute appendicitis and underwent appendectomy at the MNCMCH, Ulaanbaatar Mongolia, between January 2019 and December 2019. The diagnosis was based on the results of pathological examination. The two groups of complicated (gangrenous and perforated) and noncomplicated (catarrhal and phlegmonous) acute appendicitis were compared. Results: 1003 pediatric patients (≤18 years old) were suspected of having acute appendicitis and subsequently underwent surgery. From a total of 967 patients, 56% (n = 542) were male, 44% (n = 425) were female (gender ratio was 1.3:1). The histological examination noted that 33.1% were uncomplicated, 66.9% were complicated. While the incidence of acute appendicitis was higher during winter, the highest incidence of complicated appendicitis was observed equally in winter and autumn without significant association (p = 0.541). The months of December and March were marked by the highest incidence of AA. The highest incidence of complicated appendicitis was observed during the month of December (45%) with statistically significant difference (p < 0.001). Our study of the incidence of family history, allergy and family members was noted in complicated and noncomplicated group with statistically significant difference (p < 0.001). Conclusions: Pediatric acute appendicitis incidence is increased in winter months in Mongolia. Preventive measures to decrease morbidity and mortality associated with this disease can be taken during the winter seasons from December to March. However, further large-scale studies are needed to support this conclusion.
Charles Van Wijk, Frans Cronje, Jack Meintjes
Occupational Diseases and Environmental Medicine, Volume 8, pp 26-33; doi:10.4236/odem.2020.81002

Background: There have been concerns regarding the mental wellbeing of emergency medical service staff, particularly when faced with multiple trauma exposures. This study aimed to describe a cross-sectional view of the mental wellbeing status of emergency medical service workers, as well as to comment on the usefulness of an electronic survey tool to reach staff that is distributed across large geographical areas. Methods: The data presented here are drawn from an anonymous, voluntary, electronic survey, made available via the internet, to emergency medical service workers in the Western Cape province of South Africa. This paper reports on four domain expressions of mental wellbeing, namely disordered mood, problematic substance use, post-traumatic stress disorder, and domestic discord. Results: Elevated rates were reported by this sample, across all four distress domains, i.e. mood disorder = 12.3%; problematic substance use = 14.9%; post-traumatic stress disorder = 11.9%; and domestic discord = 11.9%. These rates were generally similar to data from comparable emergency worker groups, and much higher than local population estimates. Conclusions: The data support earlier findings that emergency medical work is associated with increased risk for symptoms of psychological distress, which present a strong case for regular organizational monitoring of employees’ mental wellbeing. In this regard, a brief, internet delivered, survey-type tool showed promise for screening employees, in order to guide further streaming of distressed individuals towards appropriate support services. Further work is required to develop clear mechanisms for referral and intervention in order to optimize a confidential and supportive monitoring program.
Siti Sara Y., Aziah B. D., Azwany Y. N., Mohd Nazri S., Zahiruddin W. M., Nabilah A., Siti Asma’ H., Zaliha I., Fairuz A.
Occupational Diseases and Environmental Medicine, Volume 8, pp 79-89; doi:10.4236/odem.2020.82006

Objective: Leptospirosis is a known zoonotic disease which is closely related to certain high-risk occupational group. This study aimed to identify the risk factors associated with seropositive leptospirosis among army personnel. Methodology: A cross sectional study was conducted involving 616 army personnel using a self-administered questionnaire. The questionnaire consisted of sociodemographic, occupational and environmental data as well as recreational activities history. Serum sample for leptospirosis was taken for screening with IgM Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay (IgM ELISA) test. Positive tests were confirmed by Microscopic Agglutination Test (MAT). Results: All respondents were male, Malays and married with the mean age of 29.28 (7.15) years old. The mean duration of working was 11.50 (7.75). Majority of the respondents were non-officer and riflemen, smokers (455 (73.9%), stayed inside the camp and engaged in recreational activities. The mean duration of employment was 11.50 (7.75) years. The overall seroprevalence of leptospirosis was 16.2% (95% CI: 13.32, 19.15) and the predominant pathogenic serovar identified was Terengganu (38.2%). Those who had lower educational levels were more protective for positive leptospirosis compared to those who have only primary education (OR: 0.32; 95% CI: 0.14, 0.76; p = 0.009). Conclusion: Despite being named as one of the high-risk occupations for leptospirosis, this study found no significant occupational factors related to leptospirosis seropositivity among army personnel.
Cisse Ibrahim Mama, Adébayo Alassani, Mènonli Adjobimey, Bio Issifou Amadou Alpha, Rose Mikponhoue, Antoine Vikkey Hinsou, Paul Ayelo, Mama Cisse Ibrahim, Alassani Adébayo, Adjobimey Mènonli, et al.
Occupational Diseases and Environmental Medicine, Volume 8, pp 91-98; doi:10.4236/odem.2020.83007

Introduction: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death worldwide. Among these CVDs, high blood pressure (hypertension) is the main one. The purpose of this study is to investigate the prevalence and factors associated with hypertension in women in the market of Dantokpa. Study method: This is a cross-sectional, descriptive and analytical survey undertaken on women selling in the Dantokpa market. The dependent variable is hypertension. Data analysis was done using Epi data 3.1 software. Results: A total of 255 women were enrolled in the study. The average age was 41.6 ± 12.13 years with extremes of 18 and 84 years. Among women, 114 (34%) were suffering from hypertension. The factors associated with hypertension in women in the Dantokpa market were above 40 years old, educated women, physical inactivity, family history of hypertension, salty food. Conclusion: At the end of this study, it appears that the prevalence of hypertension in women in the Dantokpa market is higher than that of the general female population. Therapeutic and preventive measures are necessary.
Genevieve Ataa Fordjour, Albert P. C. Chan, Peter Amoah, Audrey Amponsah Fordjour
Occupational Diseases and Environmental Medicine, Volume 8, pp 1-25; doi:10.4236/odem.2020.81001

Construction employees could experience occupational psychological disorders, such as workaholism and burnout due to their work, personality characteristics or lifestyle. This study sought to explore the effects of psychological disorders on construction employees and the construction industry. To achieve this aim, both the methods of focus group discussions and survey questionnaire were employed. The focus group discussions revealed 17 potential effects and 12 potential effects of psychological disorders on the construction employees and the construction industry respectively. A quantitative study was then employed to determine the key effects and to test the reliability of the findings from the focus group study. The results revealed that the highly perceived effects of psychological disorders on construction employees were accident-prone, chronic pain, insomnia or sleep disturbances, as these had the highest mean scores. The key effects also identified as perceived effects of construction employees’ psychological health conditions on the construction industry were: absenteeism/sick leave, errors in work, job dissatisfaction and increased medical costs. Exploratory factor analysis was employed, and the 17 effects on construction employees were categorized under behavioural effects and physiological effects. The 12 effects on the construction industry were also categorized under direct costs and indirect costs. The results from this study confirm the need for strategic interventions to mitigate the effects of occupational psychological disorders on construction employees and the construction industry of Ghana and to some extent globally. The exploratory nature of the study using preliminary findings from focus group discussions contributes to the literature on occupational health psychology.
Dafaallah Balah Mohamed, Ciska Hoving, Hein De Vries
Occupational Diseases and Environmental Medicine, Volume 8, pp 203-215; doi:10.4236/odem.2020.84016

Introduction: In Sudan, tobacco use is common; it is used in some form by 20% of the population. As most users start during adolescence, we aimed to determine the prevalence of ever use of tobacco products (i.e. cigarettes, herbal cigarettes, shisha and tombak) among Sudanese adolescent males and females, and to assess associations between tobacco ever use and personal characteristics. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in Khartoum State, Sudan. The study data were collected in June 2014. The target population consisted of adolescents in 8th grade of primary education or 1st and 2nd grade of secondary education. They were asked to fill in a written questionnaire during the school break. Schools were randomly selected using a stratified two-stage cluster sampling design method. Results: A total of 1229 respondents (56.4% male), with a mean age of 14.5 years, were included in the analysis. Prevalence of cigarettes, herbal cigarettes, shisha and tombak ever use were 13%, 7.8% 5.9% and 3.5%, respectively. Older respondents were significantly more likely to have ever smoked cigarettes. Males were found to be significantly more likely to have ever used any tobacco products. Urban adolescents were significantly more likely to have ever used shisha. Respondents were in the bottom third percentiles with regard to academic achievements, had an almost three-fold increased risk of having ever smoked a cigarette and were at least five-fold more likely to have ever smoked herbal cigarettes. Moreover, respondents in the middle third percentiles were more than twice as likely to have ever smoked herbal cigarettes. Conclusion: As uptake of tobacco products increased significantly with age among males with a middle and lower school performance living in urban areas, timely prevention targeting adolescents, such as school-based tobacco control programmes, are recommended. Our findings show that prevention should start in primary school.
Mª Teófila Vicente-Herrero, Mª Victoria Ramírez Iñiguez De La Torre, Mª Teresa Del Campo Balsa, Luis Reinoso Barbero, Juan Carlos Rueda Garrido, Cristina Santamaría Navarro
Occupational Diseases and Environmental Medicine, Volume 8, pp 175-187; doi:10.4236/odem.2020.84014

Introduction: Vulnerable is someone who can be hurt or receive injury, physically or morally. The work environment appears as one of the dimensions in which social vulnerability develops and social and occupational vulnerability is defined. The literature does not include an assessment of quantified occupational vulnerability as it already exists in the case of social vulnerability. The aim of this paper is to identify and quantify the variables included in the Protocol for the Assessment of Vulnerability to COVID-19 in such a way that the result can be quantified and allows for a predictive effect on the degree of vulnerability. Methodology: The starting point is the design of a protocol proposal that includes 29 variables. Data is collected from a sample of 420 workers, quantifying the results according to each variable, the overall scores for each group of aspects assessed and, finally, the total score that estimates the degree of vulnerability according to established ranges. Results: Variables that have the highest coefficient and, therefore, the greatest weight in the probability of reaching a group of high or medium vulnerability are cardiovascular disease, cancer, and coagulation alteration. The weight of the labour aspects due to inadequate working conditions stands out. Conclusions: The results obtained with this protocol allow us to make a quantified assessment of labour vulnerability to COVID-19 by integrating individual variables of the worker, his working conditions and the preventive actions of his company against COVID-19, and can be useful as an Occupational Vulnerability Index (OVI).
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