CDC Survey Provides New Baseline for Work-Related Asthma

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s April 10, 2015, edition of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), “work-related asthma (WRA) is a preventable occupational disease associated with serious adverse health outcomes. Using the 2006–2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Adult Asthma Call-back Survey (ACBS) data from 38 states and the District of Columbia, CDC estimated that among ever-employed adults with current asthma, the proportion of current asthma that is work-related was 9.0%. In 2011, the BRFSS cellular telephone samples were added to the traditional landline telephone samples and the weighting methodology was changed. In 2012, a revised ACBS question on WRA diagnosis was asked. To provide updated estimates of current asthma prevalence and the proportion of asthma that is work-related, by state, CDC analyzed data from BRFSS and ACBS collected from 22 states using both landline and cellular telephone samples during 2012.

“This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which indicate that 9.0% of adults had current asthma and that among ever-employed adults with current asthma, the overall proportion of current asthma that is work-related was 15.7%. State-specific proportions of asthma that is work-related ranged from 9.0% to 23.1%. Distribution of the proportion of WRA significantly differed by age and was highest among persons aged 45–64 years (20.7%). These findings provide a new baseline after the implementation of changes in survey methodology and the adoption of a revised WRA question. These results can assist states, other government agencies, health professionals, employers, workers, and worker representatives to better target intervention and prevention efforts to reduce the burden of WRA.”

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