Respiratory symptoms in Danish farmers: an epidemiological study of risk factors.
An epidemiological study was performed with a self administered questionnaire in a representative sample of 1685 Danish farmers. The purpose of the study was to assess the prevalence of self reported asthma, wheezing during work, and symptoms of chronic bronchitis and to evaluate possible risk factors for the development of these symptoms. A response rate of 73.3% was obtained. The prevalence of asthma was 7.7% and of chronic bronchitis 23.6% in responders. The prevalence of asthma and chronic bronchitis increased from 3.6% and 17.9% in 31-50 year old farmers to 11.8% and 33.0% in 51-70 year old farmers, and from 5.5% and 17.5% in dairy farmers to 10.9% and 32.0% in pig farmers. A logistic regression analysis with correction for age and smoking habits confirmed that pig farming was a risk factor for asthma (odds ratio 2.03), chronic bronchitis (odds ratio 1.53), and wheezing during work (odds ratio 3.33).