Case report

Scand J Work Environ Health 1996;22(4):311-314    pdf


Allergic alveolitis in a school environment

by Thörn Å, Lewné M, Belin L

Background A considerable fraction of newly constructed buildings have indoor air problems associated with health effects, usually of the nonspecific sick building syndrome variety. Specific health effects such as asthma, rhinitis, and allergic alveolitis can also occur.

Case On 1 September 1988 a school teacher showed symptoms of an acute respiratory illness, which was first interpreted as pulmonary embolism and then later as atypical sarcoidosis. The illness slowly progressed over six years, at which time the diagnosis was revised to chronic allergic alveolitis, related to her school environment. The school had had indoor-air quality problems off and on for several years.

Conclusions The case illustrates the difficulties of diagnosing cases of chronic allergic alveolitis, especially when it appears in environments where it is not generally encountered. It also raises questions regarding a possible relation between environments associated with the sick building syndrome and the occurrence of building-associated illnesses.