What is Epidemiology?
Epidemiology :- Greater understanding of the causes of industrial lung disease, as well as enforcement of legislation by the HSE have reduced the risk of industrial dust disease. In the post-industrial UK, exposure is nowhere near the scale found in the 1950s and 19605. Whilst mining has declined in Western Europe and many parts of the US, elsewhere in the world, many still depend on it for their living and may have much less statutory protection. Interactions between industrial dust diseases and infection may also be significant particularly in low income countries with a high incidence of HIV.
Industrial lung disease has a very marked male preponderance but this is most likely related to occupation rather than inherent susceptibility. Remember there may be a long latency between exposure and the presentation of an industrial lung disease – review past employment history as well as current employment. The first deaths attributable to asbestos were described in 1907 and Disease from asbestos exposure is now said to account for over 4,000 UK deaths each year.
It is the commonest cause of death relating to work in the UK. Legislation has existed in the UK since 1931 and asbestos use now banned; but much of the material still exists, particularly in buildings. There is still the potential to kill those who are unknowingly exposed to the fibers in their work, or those who choose to ignore the controls that provide effective protection during work with asbestos.
Major points about Epidemiology
- xln 2005, asbestosis cited on 134 death certificates.
- In 2005, Disablement Benefit for asbestosis awarded to 835 people.
- The annual number of mesothelioma deaths has increased from 153 in 1968 to 2037 in 2003. This wo probably continue to rise until 2015.
- Asbestos-related lung cancer is under diagnosed since it is indistinguishable from that caused by cigarette smoking.
- Current estimates (based on the number excess lung cancer cases in high risk occupations); ascribe about the same amount of deaths to asbestos-related lung cancer as mesothelioma.
Industrial dust diseases:
The term “pneumoconiosis” refers to a group of lung diseases caused by the inhalation and retention in the lungs of dusts. The impact of occupation on health has known since antiquity. Hippo crates and Pliny referred to silicosis (from the Greek word silex, meaning flint); making it perhaps the oldest known occupational disease.
In modern times, the most commonly occurring variant, apart from asbestosis pneumoconiotic, arising from the inhalation of coal dust. There is generally a long delay between exposure and onset of the disease. 10 years in the case of coal dust and 15-60 be with asbestos. Hence, most new cases or deaths from pneumoconiotic reflect the is coal workers king conditions of the past.
Pneumoconiotic is a modifiable industrial disease – where a patient develops the disease; their doctor must notify their employer in writing with the patient’s consent. The employer then is duty-bound to inform the local Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Pneumoconiotic is also a prescribed industrial disease. Financial, compensation may be available where an individual is able to show they worked in a job for which; their disease prescribed and that their illness likely due to the occupational exposure.
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