University of Oulu

Jaakkola, M.S., Lajunen, T.K., Rantala, A.K. et al. Occupation and occurrence of respiratory infections among adults with newly diagnosed asthma. BMC Pulm Med 23, 140 (2023).

Occupation and occurrence of respiratory infections among adults with newly diagnosed asthma

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Author: Jaakkola, Maritta S.1,2; Lajunen, Taina K.1; Rantala, Aino K.1;
Organizations: 1Center for Environmental and Respiratory Health Research, and Biocenter, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Center for Environmental and Respiratory Health Research, University of Oulu, Aapistie 5B, P.O.Box 5000, 90014, Oulu, Finland
3Université Paris-Saclay, UVSQ, Univ. Paris-Sud, INSERM, Equipe d’Epidémiologie Respiratoire Intégrative, CESP, 94807, Villejuif, France
4Finnish Meteorological Institute, Erik Palménin Aukio 1, 00560, Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.9 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-09-28


Background: Work environments are potential areas for spreading respiratory infections. We hypothesized that certain occupations increase susceptibility to respiratory infections among adults with asthma. Our objective was to compare the occurrence of respiratory infections among different occupations in adults with newly diagnosed asthma.

Methods: We analysed a study population of 492 working-age adults with newly diagnosed asthma who were living in the geographically defined Pirkanmaa Area in Southern Finland during a population-based Finnish Environment and Asthma Study (FEAS). The determinant of interest was occupation at the time of diagnosis of asthma. We assessed potential relations between occupation and occurrence of both upper and lower respiratory tract infections during the past 12 months. The measures of effect were incidence rate ratio (IRR) and risk ratio (RR) adjusted for age, gender, and smoking habits. Professionals, clerks, and administrative personnel formed the reference group.

Results: The mean number of common colds in the study population was 1.85 (95% CI 1.70, 2.00) infections in the last 12 months. The following occupational groups showed increased risk of common colds: forestry and related workers (aIRR 2.20, 95% CI 1.15–4.23) and construction and mining (aIRR 1.67, 95% CI 1.14–2.44). The risk of lower respiratory tract infections was increased in the following groups: glass, ceramic, and mineral workers (aRR 3.82, 95% CI 2.54–5.74), fur and leather workers (aRR 2.06, 95% CI 1.01–4.20) and metal workers (aRR 1.80, 95% CI 1.04–3.10).

Conclusions: We provide evidence that the occurrence of respiratory infections is related to certain occupations.

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Series: BMC pulmonary medicine
ISSN: 1471-2466
ISSN-E: 1471-2466
ISSN-L: 1471-2466
Volume: 23
Issue: 1
Article number: 140
DOI: 10.1186/s12890-023-02413-8
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3121 General medicine, internal medicine and other clinical medicine
Funding: This study was supported by the Academy of Finland [grant numbers 266314, 267675, 267995 (APTA Consortium) and 310371 and 310372 (GLORIA Consortium)], Biocenter Oulu, University of Oulu strategic funds, The Research Foundation of the Pulmonary Diseases, Ella and Georg Ehrnrooth Foundation, and Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation. A.K.Rantala received funding from the European Respiratory Society (Fellowship grants STRTF201810-00466 and LTRF201901-00554). The funders had no role in the analysis and reporting of the study.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 266314
Detailed Information: 266314 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
267995 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
310372 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.