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Other publication, 2012

Symptoms Related to Air Contaminants in Persons Working with Dairy Cows and Cattle

Nimmermark, Sven


Objectives Air contaminants as well as other factors in dairy cow housing and management may affect the health of the animals as well as persons working with the animals. A study was made with the aim to find factors correlated to the health of the workers in dairy cow and cattle houses. Methods Data was collected by the help of a questionnaire sent to approximately 1000 farmers working with dairy cows or cattle, pigs or poultry. The overall response rate was 75% and the response rate for those handling dairy cows and cattle was 74%. Totally 676 answers were used in the evaluation. Of those, 281 answers were from persons working with dairy cows and cattle and 264 of them worked with dairy cows. Analyses were made by χ2 -analysis and multiple logistic regressions. Results The prevalence of self reported asthma for persons working with cattle and dairy cows was 3.2% which was lower than for the group working with pigs (3.9%), but higher than for the group working with poultry (1.4%). Compared to all the respondents, a higher number of persons working with dairy cows and cattle were much annoyed to stuffy (bad) air, illumination and work positions. Persons working with cows and cattle spent more time in barns compared to those working with pigs and poultry. Long working days in barns, i.e. more than 30 hours work per week in barns, showed a positive correlation to a number of symptoms like dizziness, nose irritation and wheezing, and also to skin irritations and muscle ache. Persons working with dairy cows and cattle showed higher 12 month prevalence of stomach problems and diarrhoea (p≤0.05) compared to those working with other animal species. On average, those working with dairy cows and cattle also reported a higher prevalence of tiredness and weakness as well as a higher prevalence of muscle ache. Correlation between reported symptoms and some factors in the barns (tied up cows, liquid manure handling, manual handling of course feed and supplement feed, use of wood shavings) were studied in multiple logistic regressions. Manual handling of course feed was correlated to a higher 7-day prevalence of cough with phlegm as well as cough without phlegm and also to a higher 7 day prevalence of scaling, itching hair bottom.

Published in

Landskap, trädgård, jordbruk : rapportserie
2012, volume: 2012, number: 16, pages: 89
Book title: Health and Safety in Agriculture - Nordic and world-wide perspectives
ISBN: 978-91-87117-15-2
Publisher: Nordic Meeting on Agricultural Occupational Health and Safety

Authors' information

Nimmermark, Sven
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Rural Buildings and Animal Husbandry [LBT]

UKÄ Subject classification

Other Environmental Engineering
Agricultural Occupational Health and Safety

URI (permanent link to this page)