Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1990;16(6):428-433    pdf


Relationship of airborne microorganisms with the lung function and leucocyte levels of workers with a history of humidifier fever.

by Kateman E, Heederik D, Pal TM, Smeets M, Smid T, Spitteler M

An influenza-like illness appeared recently among workers in a plant processing synthetic yarn. A humidifier, a cold-water spraying system, was the suspected cause. Lung function changes over the day and week and changes in blood leucocytes were studied among the workers from the suspected department and two reference populations. Exposure to colony-forming units of bacteria and fungi and to endotoxins was also monitored. The workers from the suspected department had statistically significantly lower lung functions on the first workday of the week than the referents. Their blood leucocytes were also raised statistically significantly. The exposure to fungi, bacteria, and endotoxins differed significantly between the various departments, but the measured levels were low. It was concluded that the observed effects were suggestive of a "Monday morning fever" type of reaction and that adverse effects occurred at exposure levels lower than those found to date in the literature.