Abstract
Aim:Microbial exposure is crucial in asthma and allergy development, but there are few reports of airborne disorders in museum personnel. This study aimed to determine the immunological response and the prevalence of allergy symptoms among employees from a museum complex.Materials/Methods: In a cross-sectional study, 64 employees from 10 museums (mean age: 43.5±9.9 yrs; mean exposure: 21.4±8.9 yrs) and a matched-control group (74 subjects) were questioned about allergy symptoms (respiratory, dermatological, conjunctival) and analyzed concerning serum immunoglobulins (Ig): IgA, G, M, E. Airborne microflora was measured by Koch method.Results:Airborne fungal concentration exceeded the upper limit of 500 CFU/m3 in 5 museums. The incidence of abnormal high value for each Ig was significantly greater in exposed compared to controls (p<0.001), as follow: IgG in 51% vs. 8.2%; IgA in 7% vs. 0%; IgM in 40% vs. 18%; IgE in 20% vs. 1.4. Spirometry revealed 48.5% cases of upper respiratory irritative sd, while 3% subjects had ventilatory obstructive disfunction. The prevalence of allergy complaints was significantly higher in exposed compared to controls: dermatological disorders 22 % vs 12 % -NS; respiratory symptoms 27 % vs 5 % - p < 0.001; conjunctival reactions 33 % vs 13 % - p < 0.01. Although the association between these disorders and Ig was not statistically significant, 65 % of the exposed subjects with elevated Ig exhibited at least one allergic symptom.Conclusions: The bioaerosols in the workplace air might induce the diagnosed allergenic symptoms. This is supported by the significantly higher prevalence of elevated serum Ig in exposed. The allergenic potential of the workplace air should be monitored and reduced.